The Harriet's of the World
In today’s world, we put professional athletes on a pedestal, we gush over movie stars, and we strive to become famous performing dances on Tik Tok.
News and social media along with the latest millennial applications “apps” have distorted our perspective on what is noteworthy.
People are clamoring for attention doing crazy stunts, recording their dog doing silly things. We are hammered with an onslaught of selfies, self-promotion, selfie videos of where we eat and what we are doing.
Yet all the while there are people who are making a massive difference in our world that are not even noticed. Because we focus too much on the lifestyles of the rich and famous and not reality of those around us who are leaving an indelible mark upon this world.
It’s easy for those with money to give because they have the means to do it but often they don’t do it easily. It’s not easy for those with less to give...but they often do it easily. Because they see a need and it’s in their DNA to make that difference.
The movie Harriet, released in 2019, resurrected the story of a black female American icon, Araminta Ross, also known as Harriet Tubman. This brave woman embodied the DNA of someone who did what she had to, at her own great expense, to help others. Harriet, determined to change the trajectory of her life and the life of her family, escaped slavery and became an abolitionist and a master of the underground railroad. This woman deserves to be put on a pedestal, to have paparazzi following her and news outlets fighting over an interview with her. She should be speaking in schools about courage, determination, and leadership.
Obviously, she is not here for any of that but others are. There are thousands of people from small towns to big cities that do amazing things that have a long-lasting effect on the lives of others. Within each of our communities, there is someone determined to do good in any way that they can. He or she knows the road is not easy but they push on, they stick to it because, in the end, it is the lives that they touch that matters the most.
Here are a few black Americans doing incredible things today to leave our world a better place.
Meet Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks. Marley was a voracious reader and at the age of 11 she realized all the books she was given in school featured white boys and their dogs. So, she set out to change that. By 13, she had collected more than 11,000 books that showcase black female lead characters. She then became an author herself.
“Each of us has a magic inside of us that we can use to make the world a better place.” Way to go Marley. Follow #1000BlackGirlBooks on Twitter.
Meet Adam McKinney, M.A. who, with his husband Daniel Banks, Ph.D, co-founded DNAWORKS in 2006. DNAWORKS is an arts and service organization dedicated to furthering artistic expression and dialogue, focusing on issues of identity, culture, class and heritage. DNAWORKS moved its headquarters to Ft. Worth in the summer of 2016 when Adam started as a professor at Texas Christian University. Though a humble organization, DNAWORKS leaves an gigantic impact on each and every community in which they share their unique dialogue-based social justice action and community building. DNAWORKS believes art = ritual = healing = community and that this philosophy and practice lead to a more peaceful and understanding world.
Find out more about DNAWORKS and help them to continue breaking down stereotypes and improving the community. www.dnaworks.org
Meet Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist from The Bronx, New York who founded the “Me Too” movement on social media to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society. In 2017 #MeToo went viral as a hashtag after women began using it to tweet about the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. The phrase and hashtag quickly developed into a broad-based, and eventually international movement (Wikipedia).
In her Ted talk, Burke tells the story of how she wrote “Me Too” across the top of a piece of paper. What followed was an action plan for a movement that has gone global and could possibly be the most impactful thing for women’s rights since the right to vote.
Who will you be? In this glamorized world we live in, who will you be? How will you be a Harriet in today's world? What are you ready to do to make a difference?
From the smallest of gestures, you, too, can be a difference-maker today and tomorrow.
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