As a young girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago, my biggest challenges were walking to and from school. An older classmate at my middle school had been recently murdered by a neighborhood boy that she knew, so my parents were a wee bit apprehensive when it came to my comings and goings.
I have never forgotten her name nor the circumstances surrounding her demise. It lived with me, breathed with me every day. Other than that, I had a very normal, ice cream and apple pie upbringing.
We had liver and spinach on Wednesdays. We drank milk from glass bottles, and my pediatrician always came to the house.
We laid outside everyday, rolling in the grass and counting clouds from sun up to sun down.
We only went in when the street lamps came on because having mother open the door to come down the street looking for you meant certain death.
Education is a RIGHT not a privilege...
I never questioned going to school. It was my job. It was never a discussion. You woke up, washed your face and went to school. You did your homework and got good grades.
My parents are high-school educated. They both had some post high school classes, but there were no college grads until my generation. Nonetheless, there were never any "discussions" about education. I was only 3 generations from housemaids and segregation. While it was never stated, it was engrained within the fibers of my bones that the folks I came from struggled for everything. Now that we had the right to go to school, we would go to school, do well and go to college. PERIOD.
I don't think growing up I even knew that there were little girls like Malala Yousafzai the brave young woman who has campaigned for freedom and peace. Her desire to continue her education despite being threatened, and finally gunned down by the Taliban, her dedication to others and her bravery must be celebrated. Her conviction and resolve should also be celebrated today and everyday, without ceasing, until those who wish to thwart liberty are defeated.
I for one, am urging the United Nations to press the issue of Malala receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
She is a true champion for justice. She has given her life and entire heart in the pursuit of equality and justice. She is a symbol of hope. I wish her wellness and continued bravery. I stand with her and her family and implore you to do the same.
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