What does it mean to stand up for something? To freedom fighters like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi, it meant putting everything on the line, every single day to bring about social justice. It meant never quitting, never growing complacent, never accepting what they knew in their hearts was wrong.
There is another quote that may be even more apropos to describe our cause. It comes from Desmond Tutu, another human rights advocate: “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”
What we are involved in here is another kind of freedom fight. It is for another group of individuals facing disenfranchisement. Our children. What’s special about this struggle is that it is to protect the innocents. Children are born into this world helpless. They need the adults in their lives to nurture, protect and love them. When they are used by one parent as a pawn in a relationship struggle or even just kept from a mother or a father at the unilateral whim of one adult, that child suffers irreparable harm. To be cut off from one half of the dual harmony that occurs when both parents are in a child’s life is to lose out on so much.
We teach our children of these great leaders, how they held fast to their beliefs because they dreamed of something bigger than themselves. We tell them that Davids can stand up to monstrous Goliaths even when all the odds are against them.
We speak of these stories in the hopes that they will inspire our children to be great men and women and to let them know that justice can prevail. But in order to truly live by our words, we can never give up fighting for what we truly believe in.
What it means to stand up is to try every day to make this world a better place.
What do you believe is worth standing up for and what would you do to fight for what you believe in?