Where I went to college (and probably many other universities), we celebrated MLK Jr. Day by having a series of workshops and panel discussions about race and social justice in America. Through these events, I learned how progress and social justice only occurs when we fight for it.
Now, as an adult that no longer needs college credit, I find it challenging sometimes to find events in which to to participate. I know that most of us would rather just take the day off, rather than making it a “day on,” because it is so easy to see those past struggles as so far removed from our daily life that we don’t feel a need to react. But it is a disservice to our communities to not act or be involved. As Latinas, we have so much potential economic and political power just waiting to be used. More than just paying lip service on social media (though everyone does love a good hashtag), I encourage people to learn about the current state of racial justice in our country and do what you can to promote positive change.
I watched the movie, Selma this weekend and it while it showed the violent battles won to promote equality; it also highlighted the problems we still see today. During the scene where the Voting Rights Act was signed into place by LBJ, I immediately thought of Shelby v. Holder and how many of us are holding our breath to see what damage that case may cause.
But rather than give up, I realize that with a J.D. comes immeasurable power and ability to make change. I hope we are all aware of the positive impact we can make on racial progress and rather than sitting idly by–we decide to be participants in our communities.
If you do have the day off today, I really encourage you go to see this film. If that’s not possible, I would recommend watching a few other films that highlight the importance of resistance, civil disobedience, and speaking truth to power.
- How to Survive a Plague. A documentary taking place during the AIDS-crises. It shows what kind of fearless protest is needed in modern times in order to make the government and big business come to the table.
Food Chains. Currently the food we eat is brought to our table by way of horrible human right violations. The migrant workers that pick our crops are not given the dignity or respect they deserve. This is an on-going battle, which still requires action from all of us who are able to act.
Have you seen any of this films? What did you think?