The first argument my husband and I ever had was over voting. He wasn’t registered. Didn’t see the point. It was kind of a deal-breaker for me. Long story short, he joined the electoral rolls and canceled out my vote for the next 20 years. Be careful what you wish for.
|Russell Means at Wounded Knee, 1973
The first speaker I remember was Russell Means, an Oglala Sioux activist who championed the American Indian Movement. Among many protests, he led the 71-day occupation at Wounded Knee. He was a tall, impressive man with long, black braids—like the Indians I’d seen on TV, only much, much angrier. When he talked about poverty and despair on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and his vow to “get in the white man’s face until he gives me and my people our just due,” I was right there with him, shaking my fist. It didn’t occur to me that my face was white.
|Dick Gregory and Muhammad Ali, 1968
That’s how you inspire change—by changing the minds of people who don’t know any different.
|Kent State University, May 4, 1970
|Senators Baker and Ervin, Watergate Hearings, 1973
|Atty. Gen. Kimberlé Williams & her staff with
Ohio Atty. Gen. William J. Brown, Girls State, 1976
|25,00 people at the March for Our Lives in Orlando
A friend recently said, “Politics isn’t my thing,” as if he didn’t care whether the police come when he calls 911, or how much he’ll pay in property taxes, or whether his son and daughter will be drafted into war. Every one of those decisions will be made by an elected official. We take our government for granted, except to complain about it. One of the silver linings of the 2016 election is that a record number of women—nearly 34,000—have filed to run for office across the country. Maybe we’ll finally get something done.
Protest, register to vote, call or write your representative, contact Emily’s List to start your own campaign—these are all rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Be a patriot and get involved. Research the issues yourself—don’t let a web site or TV station tell you what to believe. If I sound too strident, well, that ship has already sailed. As my husband will tell you, I’m not kidding around.