If you are Facebook friends with me, you have probably seen this picture. It's of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at an organizational meeting for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The woman standing next to Dr. King holding the umbrella and coat, looking stoic and stylish is my grandmother. She was very active in the Civil Rights Movement. Having lived in Montgomery, Alabama and being a Black Woman, the phrase "the struggle was real" seems so cliche and flippant. In those times, you worried about getting knocked down by a fireman's hose or attacked by dogs. You worried about your church getting bombed or getting spat on while waiting for a table at a restaurant. You worried about being killed while walking across a bridge and you worried about ghosts grabbing your children, or your husband and morphing them into strange fruit hanging from a tree.
While we honor Dr. King annually for his ability to mobilize the masses while preaching non-violence, I remind my children that the movement wasn't one man or one woman. It was countless people, like my Grandma, ordinary folk who took pride in working hard and loved a country so much they were willing to die to be free in it. I remind myself that it's the ordinary people, that we meet every day, that choose to either make the world better, or worse.
Where will we sit? Where will we eat? Will we go to church this week? For some of us these seem like simple questions. For some of us, they weren't always so simple. And for some of us, these questions are still a matter of life or death. But all of us have the power to make change happen and that is most definitely extraordinary.