History and “her”story

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How long would you wait for justice? 10 years? 40 years? How about 67 years?! There’s a story all abuzz on the web about a 91 year-old woman that was kidnapped and gang-raped at gunpoint 67 years ago in a rural Alabama town. Apparently her attackers admitted to the crime and yet they did not face a trial nor were they convicted. This is not surprising considering the social and political climate in the United States during 1940s.

So now after all these years, Recy Taylor is seeking an apology from the state of Alabama.

One of my greatest fears is to experience injustice on a level that shakes the very foundation of my civil rights. My right to call myself an American (of which I’m very proud – thank you) and be entitled, by birth, protection under the laws of this country. I look at my mother’s generation of the 60s and 70s and they have bear witness to racist, sexist, and classist inequities that have managed to incorporate themselves into the very fabric of our society. Things have gotten better. They could get EVEN better.

As I think about Women’s History Month and this beautiful soul Recy Taylor who has spent almost a century in existence, living, loving, forgiving, forgetting, praying, hurting, I’m reminded of the countless women who by virtue of being women were: beaten, mutilated, raped, degraded, slighted, silenced, ostracized and their stories were never told. They never received an apology either.

Should she expect an apology for a rape crime that took place some 70 years ago? Absolutely. The psychological scar of a rape no matter how far removed from the actual encounter still festers. The apology, I think, isn’t necessarily about the rape. What Recy is asking for is acknowledgement. She wants to have it acknowledged that it happened. “Do you see me State of Alabama? I matter. Women matter. African Americans matter. I’m a part of the human race, does that matter to you?”

Nobody wants human hurt to go unnoticed, especially if it can be corrected. It is the actions we do today that will stand as the legacy of truth for our children. For Recy, my mother was watching. For my mother, I was watching. And now my children are watching me.  Who’s watching you? And what story will you tell?

Sign Recy Taylor’s petition for an apology here: http://bit.ly/e4QOf1

6 thoughts on “History and “her”story

  1. Wow, this is a very powerful post and message. Thank you for bringing our attention to this case. I think this woman has incredible courage to speak out about this now – I can’t image what it would be like to go back to that kind of trauma in such a public way. And at the same time, as you pointed out, this incident is a symbol – of change, of hope, of acknowledgment of the pain. (from a fellow SheWriter)

  2. Michelle

    I felt hurt and disappointed after reading this story. Sometimes I forget that things like this happen and still is happening. We just don’t get to hear much about it. Or, maybe its because I fiter those messages at times. However, this message is clear.. you said it best.. “its a sybmbol for change”….

  3. I appreciate very much what you are doing to continue to bring this situation to light and bright long overdue justice to the victim. If we don’t speak up, who will? I tried to sign but because I live in Canada it would not let me! I stand together with you though and applaud the work you are doing and have joined your blog. Well done Cynthia.

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