Friday, June 27, 2014
I saw that picture on Twitter. Someone posted it to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, a campaign launched in June 1964 to register African American voters in Mississippi, where Black folks had been sorely disenfranchised. That summer, courageous young people died fighting for our right to vote, and now the gains are being systematically dismantled.
As a young girl I had such a crush on civil rights activist Julian Bond. Too young and far away to participate, I followed the goings on of the sixties in the pages of Ebony and Life magazines, never dreaming I would one day write for them. Or rather, I did dream it, which is no doubt why it came to be. I have definitely seen that picture of Julian Bond as a young man before. I love the hope and optimism written all over him.
My lion-hearted cousin and her two daughters are in town from Maryland for the weekend, the younger one here to visit colleges. We laugh all the time when we're together. Even the serious stuff can take a turn into hilarity. I grew up so close to this cousin. We were the only two girls our age amid a cluster of boy cousins, and so we were always shipped off to our grandparents in the country together. Today, she is a cyber optics engineer. Or something. I don't truly understand what she does.
I'm glad they're here. The truth about freelancing is I love working from home on Monday through Wednesday, but by Thursday I start to feel a little isolated and uninteresting, as if I have nothing to contribute because I've been in my head so much with no input from the outside world. I'm learning what works and what doesn't in my new circumstances. I've decided that I shall have to put some organized activities in place to facilitate regular interaction with the world at large. Maybe join some kind of club. Volunteer for a cause. Sing in a choir. Run for my contentious co-op board. Resume physical therapy sessions. Schedule a regular mid-afternoon movie date with myself.
In light of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and the difficult issues so many people I love are currently dealing with, I do fully recognize that just being able to think like this is evidence of how crazy good my life is. This is what they call a happy problem.