"1968" - FamilyEducation

"1968"

March 19,2009
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

I watched a History Channel documentary entitled, “1968.” I witnessed Dr. David Smith, in the summer of ’67, during a cultural and political rebellion, find love in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. After beating his own LSD dependency, he sought to help other users. He walked through apartments with young men and women sprawled over the arms of loveseats, or passed out on toilets, the bathroom walls their headrests, with syringes nearby. He loved them high and helped them sober with a free clinic. Sex, drugs, and rock & roll poisoned a culture just as HIV, Hip Hop, and Purple Haze have disillusioned us. If we could reject the fallacy that crack heads and dope fiends are not our problem, just maybe we too could save a life. Following the President’s request for all Americans to, “Refrain from visiting foreign lands,” Dick Smothers declared to a world worried about the war, “All you in Vietnam come home.” The gunshots that rang out in Vietnam echoed on our own streets in America. An American citizen bellowed from the bottom of his belly, “Line up all these niggas and kill them.” The niggas were tired of being beaten, murdered and shot down in the land of the free, the home of the brave. You could hear the repetitive sound of the gun being fired, “Bang, Bang, Bang.” “A bullet travelled through the tip of his jaw,” a bystander said. And his dream for millions of niggas was deferred. Bobby Kennedy stood before a crowd of colored people and announced that Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered. You could hear the mass moan; I rewound to hear it again. Who is going to be our voice now? I am sure no one knew he was standing before them – a white man. One of my church youth said, “Pain has no color.” Bobby Kennedy could lecture the mourning crowd to peace because he once hurt like they were hurting. He said my brother was killed – also by a white man. Then someone yelled, “Oh my God! No! Not again! Get the gun! Get the gun!” John, Martin, and now Bobby. Edward Kennedy eulogized Bobby, saying his brother was a good and decent man who, “Saw wrong and tried to right it; saw suffering and tried to heal it; saw war and tried to stop it.” Since then our vision has become impaired; we see nothing anymore. While watching the documentary, synergy surged through my system. I felt radical and ready to challenge convention. I balled my hand into a black power fist and raised it above my head, re-enacting that memorable moment at the 1968 Olympics. I felt feministic like Robin Morgan and I don’t want to make coffee anymore! Like John, “I am an idealist without illusion.” Like Martin, “I have a dream.” And like Bobby, “I dream things that never were and say why not.”