Slice of Life Tuesday: When we felt we could change the world…

The Tuesday Slice of Life Writing Community @ Two Writing Teachers

A colleague stopped to chat with me today about the passing of Nelson Mandela, and, before long, the conversation turned to the political activism of our youth. Although he is younger than me, he also remembered the anti- apartheid rallies to free Nelson Mandela and divest American investments in South Africa.  We swapped stories of rallies we’d attended, and the way the years had dragged on without any end in sight – Mandela in prison, and South Africa as racially divided as ever.  And then, the day Mandela was free: the seemingly impossible was at last achieved.   Wasn’t it amazing, we said, that we’d lived in a time to experience such an arc of history – and that we’d had the chance to play a (very) small part in that story?  All those rallies and marches and protests, here and all over the world, brought about progress and change. At the end of 27 long years, Nelson Mandela was finally freed.
That conversation has stayed with me all day.  I remembered taking part in scenes like this:
and being at rallies with invitations like this:

What I remember most is the empowering feeling of boarding a bus early in the morning, carefully worded posters tucked under my arms, and excited about being a part of something big.  And, I remember climbing back on the bus at the end of a long day, exhausted, but thrilled to have done my bit to effect change.  There were many such bus rides and days spent marching; so many of us felt that our voices and actions counted at that particular time in history.  Some of those rallies yielded very little (who remembers the no-nukes movement?!), and some of those rallies led eventually to moments like this:
I feel so fortunate to have come of age in a time like that – when we felt we could change the world.

13 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: When we felt we could change the world…

  1. I was in a different part of that, the VietNam protest part, but I do remember the feelings, the vigorousness of the crowd, just a little dangerous, and actually could have been more, as you could. There were some shootings-Kent State-and quite a few violent confrontations. I'm glad to hear that you were standing for this effort, Tara, but not surprised.

  2. Wow Tara,Thank you for sharing about your experience in protests. I'm glad you paved the way for changes in policy and people's lives through matches, rallies and protests. I live near Kent State and went there for college. I've visited the memorial and I like the words posted " Inquire – Learn -Reflect". " great advice if only people would take it more seriously…

  3. Your slice really makes me wonder about what has been important in my lifetime. Looking back in 20 years what will people my age say made an impact on our lives? Were we a part of something big, but hasn't been revealed yet? Is it yet to come? Mmmm…interesting.

  4. It takes bravery to voice opinions that do not match the majority. Thankfully there are many who face these challenges. Slowly we get the world to change and become more human, and that is only possible by brave voices, such as yours.

  5. This is a fascinating story! I love that you chose to tell it as a photo essay- sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words! This makes me think of the picture book, SIT IN.

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