Friday, August 14, 2009
Mediating Civil Rights Issues
I was struck by the latest bipartisan efforts at mediating civil rights. Yes, it's true, apparently Rev. Al Sharpton and Former Congressman Newt Gingrich are on a road trip promoting equal education in America! Bravo! I'm currently reading an excellent novel, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, which addresses civil rights in Mississippi. The shocking part of the story is not the tender discussion of disparities between the Southern White families and their African-American maids, but rather how recent this disparity existed! The story reads as though it's another century, but takes place in the 1960's. It's a story of a White woman writing the "stories" of a dozen maids about their experiences working for White families: they raise their children, nurse them when they are elderly and all the while attempt to maintain their own lives and families on limited income and unequal liberties and opportunities. Now, nearly 50 years later, the news in America is indicating the government is relying upon a partnership of Sharpton and Gingrich to bring this conversation forward once again with respect to education. It's shocking, and yet, so compelling. Partnerships, alliances, dialogue is the only way change can be meaningfully made. Bravo to Kathryn Shockett for taking on this raw conversation, and kudos to Sharpton and Gingrich for continuing the dialogue towards a better future for our kids--all of them!