The 2018 Golden Globes was an important symbol for the growing “me too” and “time’s up” movements. It signified the beginning of a change from the systematic inequality across society into women leading the charge to a time when people never have to say “me too” again. It was undeniably the most rousing moment of the Golden Globes when Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award and gave a speech that offered a note of hope for women. It will be women, she said, who will finally speak their mind and change the status quo of rape culture.
Oprah’s speech was stirring -- it was inspiring -- but the most significant part of the speech for me was when she mentioned Recy Taylor, and the NAACP lead investigator who took on her sexual assault case: Rosa Parks. She says that the fighting spirit that led Rosa Parks to fight for the defense of Recy Taylor was the same spirit that led her to stay seated on the infamous Montgomery bus. Park’s iconic picture on the Montgomery bus represents a lifelong activist who had been challenging white and male supremacy for decades. She never refused to call out the system of oppression around her. When she worked for the NAACP, and later as a civil rights advocate, Rosa pushed for voter registration, sought justice for black victims of white brutality and sexual violence, supported wrongfully accused black men, and pressed for desegregation of schools and public spaces. For her time, she was a rebel, but today, she is a hero.
She was a beacon of light of her time, and today she represents more than just fearlessness in the face of real injustice. She challenged the assumptions of how people should treat each other, and how each of those people can change the path of a nation. She represents the innate power all women have: to listen, learn, and to fight injustice. The next person to rebel but become a hero could be sewing clothes in a sweatshop, picking fruit in a migrant labor camp, or cleaning bathrooms in a hotel; all they need is a fighting spirit -- one that Rosa Parks embodied. Her story teaches younger girls to move beyond the narrative and to keep fighting, even when it seems hopeless. Her own life teaches anyone willing to learn that leadership blossoms from within when a cause is deemed worth fighting for. Women have the power to evade the injustice in the world and change their lives for the better In her own words, “Freedom fighters never retire.”
Downingtown East High School
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