CC Image courtesy of theirry ehrmann on Flickr
Angela Yvonne Davis tops my list of heroes. However, this elevation wasn’t instant. During college, I rocked a t-shirt with her face on it without having read a sentence of her material. It was trendy. It had the intended effect. I was perceived as “woke”. A decade, a couple of Angela’s books, countless police killings and a venomous Presidential administration later, her work has come full circle for me.
“If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you at night.” – Angela Davis.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama on this day in 1944. FBI targeted. Unjustly incarcerated. Once free, she continued to work as an activist and scholar. Human rights. Civil rights. Feminism. Racism. Class. Economic inequality. Climate change. Militarism. Sexuality. Immigration. Islamophobia. The prison industrial complex. These subjects and their intersectionality have been the focus of her life’s work. She instructs those of us who are oppressed to link our plights. Acknowledge that the power structure is our common enemy and leverage our global strength in numbers to resist and ultimately transform society.
“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” – Angela Davis
A “hero” is defined as a “legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability”. Angela’s strength has been inspiration. I’m an eternal optimist. There has been no greater motivator in my life than the promise of a better tomorrow. The prevailing theme of hope in Angela’s work has often inspired me to act. Whether it’s via pen or boots on the ground, Angela has laid the blueprints for creating awareness and affecting change. Angela taught me that freedom is a constant struggle that leads to infinite rewards. My heroes don’t need to appear divine, only sincere. In fact, I welcome the blemishes. They are emblematic of the human condition. No one advocates for humanity with as much sincerity and brilliance as Ms. Angela Davis. Happy 74th.