1. ZORA NEALE HURSTON
After learning more about her, I find myself connected to Hurston. She would walk into a room of strangers, make them feel comfortable by talking and sharing stories, and walk away with new friends. This is a trait I try to possess. One of her friends even said she has the "gift of walking into hearts," thanks to her infectious humor and fiery intellect.
2. EARTHA KITT
If you ask me, no person should be penalized for speaking out against what they don't agree with. Eartha Kitt will always be inspirational to me for her quick witt and opinionated outspokenness.
He had a huge respect for women, and spoke directly to the worth and dignity of black women who are so often smashed down by media and society. He was always described as a person flowing with charisma, and we all know that he spoke truth. I admire that about him, and the fact that he had such a big heart, despite others in the rap game back then who hurt others physically, others including Tupac himself (probably, but that's unconfirmed).
4. RUBY BRIDGES
âA few weeks ago, I woke up to a familiar nervousness that I had felt the year before around this time. As I woke up, I put on a nice outfit for work. I stopped for a splash of caffeine (and by that, I mean the Venti) at Starbucks on the way in.
I was in for a long morning of running around feeling a mix of franticness and nervousness. I was about to be face to face with the son of an American hero: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. âHis eldest son, Martin Luther King III, came to the University to speak at our annual spring convocation, which is always dedicated to Black History Month. If youâve been here a while, youâd know that I met Ruby Bridges last year.
âAs an adult, King is living out the legacy of his father by acting as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and by giving nonviolence training to various groups in the U.S. and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Israel and Palestine, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.
âIt was awe-inspiring to meet King in person. Growing up, Iâd seen photos of his father circulating everywhere. When I saw him in person, it was like seeing what MLK Jr. would have looked like if his life wasnât tragically ripped away from him.
Today, I wanted to share a bit about what I learned from King, and some of the things he said that really stuck with me:
1: GET INVOLVED
I was really involved in the community and on my campus while in college due to my involvement in a number of community service-minded organizations. I lost that after graduation and was content with doing nothing.
However, this opportunity, and things happening at my church, have taught me that being involved is important. God wouldnât want me to stand idly by while help was needed.
2: REFUSE TO LEAVE THE WORLD UNTIL YOUâVE DONE SOMETHING GOODâ
3: INACTION IS PART OF THE PROBLEM
âWhen that happened, I called it out. I called the store after we left and told them what happened. They said they were going to speak with the woman. But I came to realize that I would be more than passionate if something bad had happened to my husband or his family members, especially if evidence pointed to the fact that it was only happening because their skin color is different to mine.
In truth, it is really hard for any of us to know what life is like in the shoes of another person. It is best to see what we can do to help, knowing that racism is absolutely wrong in the site of God and most people in the world today.
âI could probably write on this subject forever, but I was just so honored to meet them. For those that knew me before a few years ago, they likely see the photo I posted with him and roll their eyes. They only remember the times where I argued with them about a police shooting (which I would mostly retract today) and they find it hard to believe that life and God changed me.
I took photos with Bridges and King. I may have been a little struck by who they were, but what mattered to me was what they said and how they communicated it. And, how in a world filled with divisions, they still preach unity and peace.