Gratitude by JuJu Harris
Flying in over Jackson, MS, I expected to see green fields stretching in all directions, waterways dissecting them. Mississippi wouldn't have been on my list of places in the first place to visit if my friend from DC didn't live here. The South was one of those "never go there" places. Sure, I wanted to hear real Delta blues, but the legacy of Jim Crow clouded its allure. But there I was in the Jackson Municipal Airport in the Medgar Evers Pavilion, reading about his work in the civil rights movement. Due to his work and that of others like him, I can sit where I want to in a public restaurant, vote, and attend the university of my choice. Last night I watched the movie Selma, and parts of it were so violent that I had to look away. Then, I shook myself and reminded myself, "I am where I am because people didn't look away. Even when they were literally beaten down, they still looked forward because they believed in what they were doing." The public knows the names of the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, but it's the regular folks who kept going, one step at a time, supporting those who marched and attended sit-ins. I go forward, blessing their name and their actions, grateful.