When I was 9 and 10 years old, my mother was always out on college campuses—San Jose State, Berkeley, San Francisco State—rioting for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. (1967-68 was an extremely busy time for social activists.)
She would come home, barely able to open her eyes, her face all red and swollen and from tear gas. And she always had some gash in her head, or on her shoulder, or whatever. Clothes and flesh torn from falling, stumbling, getting slammed around.
My sister and I would help with her wounds and all—balm here, ice pack there, bandages taped and wrapped wherever needed—and then she’d grab something to eat, or some supplies of one kind or another, or maybe catch a few hours sleep. And then she’d head right back out there.
I used to unblinkingly watch for her on local television coverage of the riots. One time I saw her on TV, wildly fleeing from police pursuit. I was shocked she could run so fast. I was terrified it wouldn’t be fast enough. But it was. She got away.
It really meant something to me that my mom fought as long and hard as she did, in the way that she did. Because in so doing she was showing me—she was proving to me—that there is something in the world worth actually fighting and dying for. And that something is injustice being done to others.
Mothers now in the streets fighting for justice: Your children are watching you. They won’t forget what you’re teaching them, which is how to live a life they can be proud of. Thank you.
Photo basically absconded from the article Global Outrage Grows at George Floyd’s Death, published by Voice of America on June 2, 2020. Here is a recent AP story, Senate Panel Advances Trump Pick to Head Voice of America.