A Writer's 21st Century Memoir.

More Than Just A Repeat of the Past

 

I watched as peaceful protests marched down the street. They held signs encouraging equality and protection of America’s most basic civil rights.

 

“It feels as though time is repeating itself,” I said watching faces of all shapes and colors float by. The sun, at that point, had already set leaving those marching passed me to appear as though their image was waning in and out of the darkness that made up a strange dream. It was surreal. “It’s like the 1960s all over again.”

I found myself a couple of years later at the Women’s March. I stood next to like-minded people of all genders, of different race, faiths, and orientations. They held similar signs like the marches from that night a couple of years before and marched down the streets of cities all over of the nation. A few older people who were in the crowds couldn’t help but make the comparison again.

“I remember marching like this when I was younger,” they would say. “I didn’t think I would ever need to do this again.”

Then, not even a year later, came Charlottesville. Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and white nationalists descended upon the university town for a Unite the Right rally. James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio, allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer and injuring 19 others.

I turned to a friend as we discussed the chaos that had unfolded over the weekend. “Are you sure we haven’t all time traveled to the middle of the last century?”

A newsletter I subscribe to that was recreated this year as a product of The Washington Post called The Lily had left an excerpt that reflected the time traveling thought.

“In June, Bri Traquair, 31, posted a mugshot of a young white woman named Joan Trumpauer Mulholland on Facebook. In 1961, Mulholland was arrested for protesting segregation. Traquair wrote that almost every white person she knows ‘has at least thought they would be like Joan’ if they had been alive during the civil rights era. Yet, it’s easy to ignore the racial injustices of today if you’re a privileged white woman, she said.

‘My fellow white people,’ Traquair wrote, ‘if you think you would have done something then, but are doing nothing now, then you wouldn’t have done anything then, either. So think about what side of history you want to be on because now’s the time for doing something.’

The post garnered 54,000 likes and more than 43,500 shares.”

If anything, these events have shown those people who have wondered why there are those who “still get bent up about social justice” that maybe racism, sexism, and other prejudices aren’t something of the past. They are forced to recognize and witness the deep seeds of prejudices in the hearts and minds of neighbors and fellow citizens in their own country. Although the nation has made progress in moving forward and striving for equality, we can’t help but see that a lot of the same issues that we have encountered in the past are also issues that are relevant and that need to be addressed today.

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