I had the pleasure of seeing Selma with a few friends. It was a moving experience. One I shall not forget. Often we take for granted what others went through, sacrificed and lost their lives, in order for us to have the freedom we do today.

People like Jimmy Lee Lewis who was a civil rights activist. Jimmy was beaten and shot by State Trooper, James Bonard Fowler during a peaceful protest. Jimmy Lee was unarmed.

We sometimes forgot about the struggles and trials because we now have freedom and civil rights to as we please. Or so we think. We must remember there is still injustice, prejudice, and even in today’s society, slavery. As a black woman, I know the struggles my race has faced; the mountains my ancestors had to climb. Therefore, I strive daily to count my blessings and do my part to help continue the fight for equality among all people. I don’t take for granted the opportunity to speak freely, receive an education, vote, my civil rights, and so many other privileges just forty-seven years ago, many blacks in this country were denied.

It saddens me to see young men and women of color today who literally refuse to utilize their right to vote. They refer to one another as niggers. They walk around with their pants sagging, and disrespect themselves, their elders and the men and women who sacrificed, fought and died for them.

If only there was a time machine that allowed the youth of today, and those of my generation to go back in time. To go back and visit with the men and women who were slaves. To sit with the activist and civil rights leaders who fought to end slavery; the right to go school, have a better life for their families and generations to come. To hear their stories.

I feel if we could see and feel their pain, we all would have a greater appreciation for life as we now know it. We would appreciate the privileges pass down to us. We would understand we must continue on the journey to evolve. We have to seek higher education, utilize our voice through voting, and get involved in our communities and not desert them.

The three marches in Selma to Montgomery in 1965 was more than blacks marching for the right to vote. It was a movement among men and women from different races, religions and genders coming together to be one voice. The voice for equality among all. I thank all those who marched. Due to their strong will, and determination, the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act was passed.

I can’t and I won’t take my life for granted. Each day I wake I ask God to use me. Show me my true purpose, and give me the strength to walk in it.

Until Next Time, Continue to Soar!

Gina Grant
Women That Soar