Sacrifices opened doors for present

Ancestors, parents and people who aren’t even related to me fought just so I can have the rights I have today. I find it mind-blowing that people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and John F. Kennedy put their lives at risk so students like you and I could walk where we want, sit on the same level at the movie theater and could have equality in the work place. They became heroes to those who did not have a voice.

As a child I did not notice or really appreciate why my parents made me go to school every day or why they were so hard on me to make good grades. I now realize that for my future to be bright, I have to attend school. How else can I get an education?

Our parents try to open as many doors as possible for us. As teenagers we are near-sighted, only wanting to see the situations right in front of us and not what will benefit us in the future. Those who work for equal rights and fair opportunities are far-sighted.

They see what will help us in the future, such as making us get involved in school activities and volunteer work even if it feels like a waste of time to us.

My grandmother was born in 1913 in a small town in Louisiana. She had seven children and worked hard.

Actually, the word “hard” is an understatement. She woke up before the rooster and had breakfast ready for her children before they left for school. She managed a farm, tended a garden, was a loving mother, a faithful wife and an active member in her church.

She would do anything for her children to have the very best opportunities.

Between the 1940s to 1970s it was not an easy period to raise a black family, but she made them go to school even when they were being treated disgracefully by other students.

Even though I was not there during that time, I look at her children now and see how successful they are. All of her children went to college and two of them have master’s degrees. All but one of her children have raised a family.

Just looking around at the world today compared to back then is a blessing. So many people have the opportunity to make something of themselves. The only thing holding them back is themselves.

My parents were in school during schools’ integration. May mom was in Louisiana and my dad was in Mississippi. By their not giving up when times were tough they were able to provide a future for themselves and then have the opportunity to give their children the opportunities they had.

As a black woman, I would have been out of luck if I were alive back then, because I would have been at the bottom of the totem pole, having no rights.

So many women fought for equal opportunities and they did not stop until they had the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony led the women’s suffrage movement and if it were not for her and the other courageous women, where would we be today?

As women we should be thankful and embrace the fact that we have the right to vote. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to vote, but I’m even more thankful that people fought for what they believed in.

I don’t know each person who was in a riot, walked in marches, went to jail, was injured or killed, but their sacrifices were and are appreciated by so many.

Even though we walk around in life and enjoy the precious moments we spend with our families, we don’t even think about what it took for us to be able to have these moments that we take so much for granted.

Khandice Horn is a sophomore journalism major from Longview.