Day 11 - First Steps: Listen

Day 11 - First Steps: Listen

"I'm not backing off."

Fannie Lou Hamer, 1968

“I loved Medgar. I loved Martin and Malcolm. We all worked together and kept the faith together. Now they are all dead. ... I’m the last witness – everybody else is dead.”
— James Baldwin, conversation with Ida Lewis, 1970

Baldwin was wrong. He wasn't the last living witness. And the men hadn't done the work alone. When Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, Rosa Parks was organizing in Detroit. Septima Clark was registering voters in the South. Fannie Lou Hamer said, "I'm not backing off." These women worked alongside so many others, some remembered and some forgotten.

“And I’m not going to say it’s not anymore of us going to die, because I’m never sure when I leave home whether I’ll get back home or not. But if I fall while I’m in Kentucky, I’ll fall five feet and four inches forward for freedom and I’m not backing off.”
— Fannie Lou Hamer, “What Have We to Hail?”, 1968

Listen to the words of black women who lead the Black Lives Matter movement today. Listen to the words of black women in your local community who work for justice and peace.
To listen to a discussion with the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors, visit https://youtu.be/tbicAmaXYtM

We give thanks for the all the women who lived the struggle: Betty Shabbazz, Mamie Till-Mobley, Coretta Scott King, Nina Simone, Myrlie Evers, Jo Ann Robinson, Septima Clark, Rosa Parks, Dorothy Height, Fannie Lou Hamer, Mahalia Jackson, Diane Nash, Amelia Boynton, Daisy Bates, and so many others.

We praise you, God of Mary, for their labor, the love that they shared and showed fighting for freedom and never backing away from the struggle, even as others failed to take record of their deeds and did not write their names in books of history.

When it’s my time to tell the story, fill my mind with the memories of these women, who gave so much. Whether it is my time to lead or my time to follow, send the Spirit of humility to guide me, that we might keep the faith together with all those who are so often ignored.

And when it’s my time to die, give me the grace to fall toward freedom, just like Fannie Lou Hamer. Amen.
Day 12 - Last Words: Oscar Grant III

Day 12 - Last Words: Oscar Grant III

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