Understanding and Inspiration

June 4th, 2019

The Civil Rights Tour, so far, has been full of gaining knowledge of the ‘real history’, meeting inspirational people and making me think differently.  These incredible people I met grew up in a time of intense struggle for basic rights to live life that I took for granted.  I had no idea when I was growing up in the sixties and early seventies the intense division between people across the South and  throughout America.

I am learning so much more about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, the Little Rock Nine, Freedom Singers, segregation and desegregation and human rights injustices.  I met and talked with two people that captured my head and heart and opened my eyes.

Minniejean Brown, who was one of the Little Rock Nine and attended Little Rock Central High School.  The abuse (physical and emotional) that she put up with as a teenager was so incredible and inspiring.  Hearing her stories firsthand made my heart hurt.  The empathy and admiration that I have for her is difficult to put into words.

Another awe inspiring person is Rutha Harris, one of the Freedom Singers.  She taught me how she demonstrated non-violence by singing.  She shared songs and I sang along, but it wasn’t until near the end that I realized  if my skin was a different color I would have struggled to survive this time period.  Rutha’s. strong faith in God and her community helped her live the worst of the Civil Rights period.

My eyes and heart have been opened and I have only been with this Tour for about 2 days.  How can this not change a person, but most importantly how can it not change a Christian?  It’s hard to believe that we are still not treating others the way we want to be treated, but it’s true.  We see it in the media every day.  Aren’t we supposed to love one another? How or why is this still a problem?  Perhaps we all need a trip like the Civil Rights Tour or some type of journey to re-examine ourselves and how our faith fits into the real world.

I am thankful for this opportunity to grow!

Cathy Poiesz

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