Opinion: Challenging our generation to keep civil rights alive

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor is a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said.

Aug. 28, 2013 marked the 50 year anniversary for the March on Washington, at which King presented his famous “I Have a Dream Speech”. This celebration was an instant reminder of what the civil rights movement embodied: justice.

These types of events for these types of events shaped our country so it is very important for our generation to remember and recognize them.

The week before I returned to Kent State to embark on my journey as a sophomore, my mother and I scheduled a movie date to see “The Butler”.

The movie was a striking depiction of the civil rights movement. During the movie I felt several emotions: anger, fear, disgust, inspiration and a sense of empowerment.

I am personally excited that Hollywood is still interested in producing movies that showcase events that happened decades ago. Media are very effective tools in keeping our history as a country alive.

Days after I saw the movie, I analyzed the message behind the story. The story could have been perceived in many different ways, but I believe the story represented the power of change.

The movie literally brought tears to my eyes. The dedication and the struggle that went into the civil rights movement were remarkable and touching. As I sat in the theater I thought to myself: “If these events never happened, would I even be returning to Kent State next week?”

Most of the civil rights acts were performed by high school and college students. I once again thought to myself: “If I was 19 back then would I have had the courage and the bravery to fight against society?”

I couldn’t imagine taking on such responsibility at this age; risking my life and the safety of my family on pure hope and faith, society would change for the better.

Those students were incredibly determined and passionate about creating positive changes for generations to come.

Without these types of historic events that took place within all cultures, religions and ethnicities, America would not be the prosperous country it is today. As the old saying goes: “It takes all types to make the world go ‘round.”

We are quite lucky today in our generation. Most major issues have been fought for us decades ago. Since this is the case we tend to forget the struggle that has taken place.

No matter what nationality, religion or culture, we must all remember where we come from. We won’t have a clear understanding of where we are going without remembering how far we have come.