Twenty people or more crowded the three tables in my granddaddy’s house in North Carolina in Thanksgiving 1964. For the first time I got to sit with the grownups at the table with the white tablecloth. I was “grown” enough not to have to sit with the babies and mommas at the card table. As I listened, I was waiting for something to add, to use my voice which I was just discovering. I was fired up by the opinions that my father yelled at the television. We could argue in my home. About Vietnam, and desegregation, about the “military industrial complex”, about women’s equality but we also agreed on many things. We did not use the “n” word in my home. We had grieved the recent assassination of Kennedy. We believed in education and science. And we lived in the South, in Mississippi. I knew my parents were different in their beliefs from some of our neighbors, but we were polite about it, or my parents were. There was a reason we didn’t talk politics or religion at their dinner table.
Then I said it.
I don’t even remember what I said to the table but everyone at that table looked at me as if I had grown a horn in the middle of my forehead. All I can remember is that the conversation shifted and washed all attention away from me. My opinion had been negated. I was young, female, and not in tune with the prevailing opinions at that table.
But I have not shut up. The abominable administration of the last four years will not shut me up. The Confederate flag trucks on the road will not shut me up. I will continue to speak for equality, for human rights, for the rule of law, for peace over war, for the right to protest, for the right of each human on this planet to live - to have their basic needs met. I will speak and write for truth, facts, science and intelligent discussion, not lies and threats. I will vote, encourage others to vote, and work for my candidates. As my mother and father did, so do I. We are Southerners too. Do not let this shut you up. Use your art to speak up. Write for human rights. And vote.
We are all superheroes.