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493 OUT OF 5,077?

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Melodie Graves from Amarillo, Texas, for the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club. Today we continue looking at the March trilogy, which is a three-part graphic novel written about the discrimination and oppression experienced by the great John Lewis.

Melodie Graves from Amarillo, Texas, for the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club. Today we continue looking at the March trilogy, which is a three-part graphic novel written about the discrimination and oppression experienced by the great John Lewis.

Book Three opens with three girls being bombed at a church in Birmingham. This event sparks much violence and killing, but Dr. King reminded everyone that they needed to continue to fight for their rights. The story then flashes between 2009, with Louis shaking hands with President Obama at the inauguration and back to the struggles that Louis faced in 1960s with African Americans fighting for their rights to vote.

The oppression continued with the killings and bombings. And, when Dr. King met with President Johnson about the Voting Rights Act, Johnson refused to put it into effect.

Malcolm X was assassinated, and another march was organized in 1965. At the Pettus Bridge, Lewis is beaten in the head, and while he's in the hospital, Dr. King visits him. That march is now referred to as Bloody Sunday, the gateway to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Flash forward to 2009, and the inauguration of Barack Obama as evidence of how far Lewis has been able to bring us. We owe him so much for his contributions to the struggle. The life of John Lewis should be studied by every American. His life was not just about the rights for Blacks, but for all those who were or are oppressed.

In September of 2020, I had the opportunity to go to many of the places that March talked about. Being in those places really encouraged me to start advocating harder. As I walked the Pettus Bridge and recalled those who had fought for my rights during Bloody Sunday, I knew that I had to continue to carry on Mr. Lewis's legacy. Standing at the church where the little girls died from the bomb, my heart was broken. Walking through the bus station where the Montgomery Bus Boycott took place was so empowering. The museum still has some of the actual floor from the original bus station. That was a trip that I'll never forget

As a result of those experiences, I am forever empowered to make at least some of the impact that Mr. Lewis made in this world. And, as I am empowered to continue to make an impact in this world, I must reflect on what is going on locally at this very time.

We have people who are being oppressed, people who feel like they have lost their voices in our recent election, where only 493 people voted out of 5,077 registered voters.

It is clear that we must do something. We must value our own voices. And we must not stop until our voices are heard loud and clear. We need to understand that we have value and that people like John Lewis have gone before us and have fought for us to have the right to show up at the polls.

It's time that we as citizens, and residents start to show up for a greater tomorrow. Our children are watching what we are doing. They're no longer doing what we tell them to do, but they are doing what they see us doing.

So, it becomes extremely important that we get out and vote, so we create a united force that says we are here to fight for each other. We must demand that others listen to us as we create the change that we know that we are worthy of as we continue in our life. It becomes important to understand that oppression is not for one specific group. Anybody can face oppression. And as easily as one group can be oppressed, any group can be oppressed.

So, what we must do is start to speak out against the oppression that we see. We must assure that everybody's voices are heard. And when we're at a table, it's important that we create a space for others to join us. If we want to be the change that John Lewis fought for, that Dr. King fought for, we must create a united front to make change a reality.

This has been Melodie Graves and Amarillo for the HPR Radio Readers Book Club.

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Spring Read 2022: Graphic Novels—Worth a Thousand Words 2022 Spring ReadHPPR Radio Readers Book Club
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