Hope Heals: Every hand helps cause - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Hope Heals: Every hand helps cause

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The Lookout Editor in Chief Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles             
Editor in Chief

Someone once said to me, “Progress is undefeated.” For years and years, that was my mantra because it felt SO true. Then the Trump presidency happened, and I started to worry I was going to have to find a new mantra.

Our country is reverting to its old racist, misogynistic, xenophobic ways, and it feels like modern American ideals are trying to stay afloat in a pool of concrete.

There is a general feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, but every time I get too caught up in that feeling, I remind myself of Barack Obama’s words from a 2024 interview, which I wrote about a few weeks ago.

“We’ve been through stuff like this before,” he said.

American history, specifically the post-World War II era, is incredibly relevant to our path forward because, fortunately, a lot of issues facing Americans right now are surfacing for the second time.

Post WWII politics in America greatly centered around desegregation and second-wave feminism, but the political conflicts of that time all started because of the empathy Americans had for each other.

According to nps.gov, in 1945, 37 percent of the civilian workforce were women, which led to unions fighting hard for equal pay for equal work during the next decade. These efforts would lead to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, signed by President John F. Kennedy, prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination in the workplace.

There is also a lot to be learned from the struggles of Black America during this period.

Post WWII, the disrespect shown to Black WWII veterans was intolerable. It infuriated President Harry Truman into signing an executive order banning segregation in the Armed Forces on July 26, 1948.

This national acknowledgement of systemic racism not only set a trend, but created something that would come to be known as the Civil Rights Movement.

Shortly after Executive Order 9981 ordering desegregation of the military, there was a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that effectively ended segregation in public schools as well, in May of 1954.

After that, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy, was murdered in Mississippi for reportedly flirting with a white woman on Aug. 28, 1955. There was a trial for Emmett Till but the accused was acquitted, after an all-white jury deliberated for less than an hour, on the grounds that the body was unidentifiable. The case made international news and furthered the Civil Rights Movement.

Building on that atrocity, Rosa Parks sparked the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott on Dec. 1, 1955, by refusing to give up her bus seat for a white woman.

“It was a rebellion of the maids, a rebellion of working-class women, who were tired,” reads a quote from an article held in the Library of Congress, titled “Women in the Civil Rights Movement.”

There were many women before her who protested the same way, but none of them were as reputable a citizen as Rosa Parks, and their experiences were not heard until the case of Browder v. Gayle; a case that legally ended segregation on public transportation as well.

Following that, the “Little Rock Nine” were famously escorted into Little Rock Central High School by armed federal troops on order of President Dwight Eisenhower on Sept. 4, 1957.

In the same year, Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which allows for the federal prosecution of any person who suppresses another’s right to vote.

Another protest occurred in 1960, as four Black college students refused to leave a “whites only” lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. They stage what would become known as the “Greensboro Sit-In.”

Finally, if not most memorably, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first Black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in November of 1960.

Every step that America has taken forward has been at a great cost, but the fight toward equality and freedom for all is well worth the price paid.

Take a stand, stay seated, hang a sign, write a letter, lead a debate, sing a song, wave a flag, JUST GET INVOLVED. Holding up a movement is heavy, but every hand helps.



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