I stood on the porch of the replicated slave quarters behind the Smith Family Farm house at the Atlanta History Center on Veteran’s Day, the day that’s a “celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” and my stomach churned as a looked across the broken place in the fence around the small plot that shared cabbage and cotton plants. It was almost as if the buildings were haunted with the souls that, morning after morning had risen to work in the semi-dark with no hope that things would ever change, their fingers cracked and bleeding with cold and pricks from sharp tips around the cotton bolls.
Glimpsing inside and seeing a pile of blankets on the floor of the cabin and my spirit grew heavy, in anger, in sympathy, rage and I wanted to go back in time to erase it all, the spirituals the men and women had to sing just to get through the sheer exhaustion and hopelessness of labor without sign of deliverance. and my heart broke once again that this is still happening all over the world. How can we do all to stand when we don’t stand in the first place?
We educate a woman.
We empower a family.
We buy her product.
We make our friends aware. We speak with the power that we do have, the voice that we tuck away because we are too busy or too afraid, or we think that no one cares.
We defend the widow.
We make it so one more girl does not need to be sold.
We understand that hearts bleed too, when families have to be separated, women spending entire days away from her children so that they can have something to eat while mommy is away.
We understand that maternal support starts at the beginning.
What can you do to sacrifice for the common good?