By Michellay Cole
As this wonderful journey concludes, I want to reflect by answering the question, “So what will you do next?” I felt inspired to write this poetic piece after listening to some of the original Freedom Riders speak with high school students in Mississippi.
I’ve decided that from this day forth, I will dedicate my life to the struggle for civil rights.
From this day forth, I will lead others as I follow God. I will forgive those who threaten the movement towards civil rights for all individuals because I know that my enemy is not any being but that instead, my enemy is any institution that disregards the sanctity of human life.
I’ve decided that from this day forth, I will dedicate my time and energy to telling the stories of those that often go untold. From this day forth, I will not allow laziness, complacency, or mediocrity to dominate my life. I will use my talents to spark change and make a difference in my life and the lives of others because I know that one person, no matter how small, can make a difference.
I’ve decided that from this day forth, I will dedicate my voice to spreading knowledge to those who are deprived of education. From this day forth, I will be the change I would like to see in the world. I will not criticize corrupt or ineffective institutions without offering a better solution because I know that faith without work is dead.
I’ve decided that from this day forth, I will aim to motivate others to also dedicate their lives to the struggle for civil rights. From this day forth, I will not pull up the ladder of success and close the door of opportunities once I accomplish my goals. I will instead lower the ladder and leave the door wide open for the next generation so that they too can accomplish their goals.