This I Believe

Alfred - Charlottesville, Virginia
Entered on May 29, 2007

This I Believe

During the height of the civil rights movement I was a pre teen and teen. The result was a mixture of ethical turmoil produced by adolescent development and observing an American society that did not live its values. I watched my mother intimidated, because she was teacher to limit, her (and my) involvement in the civil rights movement. I lived with the “legal” lynching of seven of my class mate’s brothers. I encountered the intimidation of legal authority as it became an arm of racial oppression and repression. I watched my father, a black man, survive by being invisible and suffer emotionally because he was not able to realize his hopes and dreams. Yet, I never gave up hope of the American dream of liberty and justice for all. In fact my faith in the grounding of democracy has never wavered.

This I believe—that the greatest value for me is honesty and truthfulness—even in the light of repression and intimidation; that I have a responsibility, as a part of a community, for my fellow man or woman; that I must live today so that those who follow me will not be burdened with a legacy of over indulgence and over consumption by my generation; that the greatest thing that I can accomplish in life is to leave a legacy of making a difference; that I must live my life on principles of equality and social justice; and that I must never abuse the earned and unearned privileges that I have by placing others at a disadvantage.