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My Turn: Will we still fight for justice and fairness?

By Victor Jenrette
I have recently read “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett and also watched the movie with my wife.
I’m not writing a book and movie review but can’t help thinking about our recent past that this takes place in. I remember it very well. The early ’60s saw changes in our country that still reverberate today. Racial issues, social issues, the war in Vietnam. The effects are still felt today and remembered by us that witnessed the profound events that took place. Marches in the South and our nation’s capital. Finding that we had people living in third-world poverty in our own country. Protests and sit-ins against the Vietnam war.
I went through high school in the late ’60s. My high school was filled with so called “hippies.” There was a strong anti-war sentiment among my school mates. I recall one day when a nationwide “peace out” was taking place, many students from my school boycotted classes and marched down to the local interstate and stopped traffic. Those were crazy times. But it was the start of social awareness for many of us. We knew that there was a world out there beyond our country.
Today, I have to wonder what is going on? Just like my parents and their generation wondered about us. Every once in a while, I see a church do something, like helping the tornado victims in Alabama. Or recently, a young junior from West Rowan High School stayed on top of Mario’s and vowing not to come down until she raised enough monies to help medical research. This touches my heart. But I see very little of this from our young people.
The story of “The Help” needs to be shown in all our middle and high schools. There is a lesson here — that there are things worth fighting for. There are things worth dying for. Freedom. Social justice. Hunger. Shelter. Child abuse. Spouse abuse. Drugs. There is a long list that can go on and on.
Does hate prevail only because it’s passed on from one generation to the next?
Am I hated simply because I am of a different color?
Do we deny opportunity to youth because their parents don’t make enough money and don’t live in the fancy neighborhoods?
I’m hoping for an awakening in our country before it’s too late. I had college professors from Fayetteville State University who sat at counters in Greensboro, Fayetteville and Charlotte to be denied service and had police drag them off because of a little posted sign, “whites only.” They fought with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and changed America.
We need change in America today. We need young people who are willing to fight for what is right.
Are you out there?
Victor Jenrette lives in Salisbury.

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