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  • Writer's pictureLisa Blair Fratzke

Carry The Torch

John Lewis, the civil rights icon who fought beside Martin Luther King Jr., died recently. He left us a letter after his passing that was published by The New York Times.

It was poignant and optimistic. His words reminded me that what we do matters. There is hope.

The hard work of our time is that change does not happen in a single generation. The work of generations before us must be built upon and carried to the next. Racism didn’t end when segregation ended. Women didn’t gain equality when they gained the right to vote. LGBTQ couples didn’t stop being discriminated against when they gained the right to marry.

Even if laws change and systems evolve, it unfortunately takes much longer for the hearts and minds of those within culture to change. It is often the work of generations.

The hard work of progress is slow and steady, and it sometimes feels like too little too late. It sometimes feels like the last leg of an uphill climb and you’re not sure you are going to make it.

It feels like a cold and broken hallelujah. It’s so easy for me to feel depressed about how long it takes for change to happen -both globally and in our own lives and communities. We can send a message in seconds, but true lasting change seems to take centuries.

I wanted it to happen yesterday.

And then, it dawned on me. Even though change may move at what feels like a glacial pace. It happens.

The world I live in today is very different than the world my parents and my grandparents and my great grandparents lived in. The rights I have as a woman today are the fruit of battles fought before I was born by the women and men who came before me.

And, there are future generations of men and women who will benefit from what we stand up for and fight for today.

Like the Olympic torch relay, our job is not to light the flame. The flame is already lit – it was lit ages ago. And, it's been carried for generations.

The renewing work of change is old and it's new. It's alive and afoot.

It’s our job to pass it on. To carry the torch, step by step, as far as we can go.


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