It is my father’s generation celebrating an apparent end of civil rights movements. Even my peers believe they have drawn to a close and social liberality concluded.
Sadly, I have seen no commentator dismiss this dangerous falsehood.
My father’s generation tarnished those who rallied in pride and called them ‘faggots’ as my grandfather’s tarnished those in Salem and named them ‘negroes’. My great grandfather’s era tarnished those who bore the banner of suffrage and titled them ‘destroyers of the family’ and it would only be miraculous if the activists of our century are not labeled in slander, the same way, as ‘liberal’ or ‘Millennials’.
It is in every generation that civil rights appear completed until others bring to light the struggles of fellow brothers and sisters.
I bear those admonishes, and urge others to as well, without hesitation, for the fabric of freedom is not tarnished by the people who strive to eradicate it but by the people who struggled in raising it.
But why see these slurs as praise? Because in the same way that our ancestors spoke those wicked insults, which pain even in reading like hot iron, in order to dilapidate people speaking truth to power are, inevitably, the historical remnants that remind us of so many peoples’ struggles. It is the cultural monument of the wrongs we must commit nevermore.
It is the Bible which reads the poor shall inherit the Earth, and in the same, those who toil today are tomorrow’s forefathers. The forbearers of human betterment have never been—and can never be—the powerful, the minute, but the multitudes of voices which proclaim Providence for more, not less.
The fight for fair voter representation—without the need of wealth or superfluous barriers,
the fight for economic freedom—for the ‘necessitous man’ to earn the right to human decency,
the fight for climate justice—to defend the well-being of future generations,
those are the shadows materializing, among many others, from the fog of war that is the new civil rights battlefield. Freedom is a legacy birthed to us by our forefathers but it is a prophecy which is not so easily granted, and it is only when we choose to march on these issues we will fulfill it.
Anthony J. Zarzycki is an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University studying Astronomy and Astrophysics.
You can read more of his work here.