Ruby — the trailblazer

Ruby Bridges is the proof that a first grader can change the world. When she was just six years old, Bridges became the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the South in New Orleans under a court order. Federal marshals escorted her to and from school while angry protesters jeered and threatened her. As she later said, “That fateful walk to school began a journey, and we must all work together to continue moving forward.” The moment inspired Norman Rockwell to paint the renowned “The Problem We All Live With” which President Obama later installed outside the Oval Office. To this day, Ruby continues to educate people about civil rights.

We should be as courageous as Ruby was at six and still is at the age of 63 — to keep marching, speaking out against injustice, and taking steps forward. Black History Month is a chance to celebrate the trailblazers who are making history today — like Tarana Burke, who created the #MeToo movement years before it came to national attention, or the hundreds of people who marched against the hate and intolerance we saw in Charlottesville last summer. We need to keep standing together against racism, wherever and whenever it occurs.

As we reflect on the past, it’s a reminder that what happens next is up to all of us. We must challenge ourselves and each other to do better — and to address injustice. And above all, we must ensure that the next chapter of history — the one being written right now — brings us closer to an equal world.

Published in Daily Times, February 16th 2018.