New Article: Fighting For Justice Through Student Voter Engagement

Posted by Forbes on January 30, 2024

When I was a teenager in the 1990s, I was captivated by the history, energy and the shared struggle of the Civil Rights Era. I watched movies like “X,” “Mississippi Burning,” and “Get on the Bus.” I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X at age 15 and was devastated when he recalled a young white woman, a lot like me, asking him after one of his speeches at Harvard what she could do to help the cause. Malcolm flatly told her, “nothing.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s series of sermons, “Strength to Love” was one of my favorite books and awakened in me a deep sense of indignation about the “three evils” of racism, poverty and militarism, while inspiring in me a burning desire to allow agape—the love of God operating in the human heart—to guide my words and actions. During those teenage years, our nation saw the Rodney King beating, the ensuing LA riots, the racially charged O.J. Simpson trial, the crack epidemic, the racially motivated “War on Drugs,” the federal three strikes law and a skyrocketing incarceration rate, disproportionately impacting communities of color and the poor.

Over the years, I have often reflected on the role that I have to play in the struggle for justice. I have been very fortunate to learn from social justice organizers, elected officials, pastors and community leaders. I am grateful and humbled when I am invited to the table in communities of color as an ally and a friend. In the spirit of “agape,” I seek to utilize my privilege in service of our shared work.

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