In 2014, I had an opportunity to sit front and center at the celebration of the Anniversary of the March on Washington. The following day, the article shown here appeared in the Black Voices Section of the Huffington Post (that beautiful brown woman is me, in case you didn’t know). I was excited – probably more in reaction to the brief celebrity than the underlying meaning, but the strength of the moment wasn’t lost on my boyfriend. Smiling, he labeled me the New Face of the Civil Rights Movement and promptly kissed me on the cheek. The idea was warming until I experienced it in real life. When I showed my employers, they glossed over it as if it was something to be ashamed of. There was no fanfare, they didn’t publicize it on the website, or the firm Facebook page as a way to show their commitment to diversity. Instead, they hushed the moment and never discussed it at all.
I was troubled, but I moved forward thinking that perhaps it wasn’t an appropriate thing to have shared professionally. I didn’t much think about it until a few weeks ago when I took a long walk around my neighborhood. A bit out of character, I pumped my arms to build some momentum. People stared as they drove by. Some people yelled obscenities out the window and I realized that they were offended by what they perceived to be my own personal March on the neighborhood, even though it was just a workout. It wasn’t the first time race relations had smacked me in the face near home, but it was the most enlightening. Moreover, it was timely.
Three days ago, James Fitzgerald, the former Chief of Police of Howard County resigned his post after he was accused of being racist, sexist, anti-sematic, and crass. A 48-page report announced that Mr. Fitzgerald faced the following abbreviated list of accusations:
My walk around the neighborhood wasn’t an intentional protest, but it ended up reminding me that I not only have a voice in the fight against the systematic oppression of disenfranchised and marginalized persons, I also have a face in. In light of the our too-hectic, capitalist-driven, hyper-opinionated lives, it isn’t easy to become a vital part of a movement by organizing. Perhaps, a personal stance taken by many persons all over the country would have the necessary impact that we need, so I encourage each of you who feels compelled to take a stance to personally get to marching. March on! Who knows, you may turn around to find people following in your footsteps.