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#1960Now: Jim Crow 2.0

Sheila Pree Bright | Georgia, United States

2021 The People's Uprising organization, Voting Rights Protest, Atlanta, GA
Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Jamaican-born Basil Watson. Installed in 2021, Atlanta, Georgia.

My parents grew up in the Jim Crow era, and when I was a young child, they never spoke of their experiences living in the south. It wasn't until Trayvon Martin's death by police brutality that my mother started telling us stories about her life as a teenager. In her own words, "I didn't speak to my children about the Civil Rights movement because I didn't want you to hate White people. I can't believe I would see the day that Black people's oppression still exists when it comes to our fundamental civil rights." My mother passed away in 2019, so she is not here to experience the effort across the country to restrict the vote that will more likely affect Black and Hispanic citizens.

This systematic inequality in American democracy has personally affected Democratic State Senator David Lucas of Macon, Georgia. He served in the Georgia legislature since 1975 and was one of the first Black lawmakers elected since Reconstruction. At the Georgia State Capital in February 2021, with tears in his eyes, he said, "It's amazing. I did not think I had to come to the well after 45 years of being in this body. But I want to tell you, we are going to fight.” “I will not go home and tell those folks who voted that I took away the right for you to vote," Lucas vowed on the Senate floor.

These protest images echo the words of my mother, Senator Lucas and the late Senator John Lewis who famously said, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble and help redeem the soul of America.”

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