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What, how can it be that l am first in line, no one in front and after me, who knows?

I feel so naked and exposed.

But l digress.

In 10th grade, in the high school cafeteria, a somber announcement after the loudspeaker. The president has been shot in Dallas. How can this happen? He was, our president; he spoke directly to the youth.

And we were already organizing demonstrations to hasten civil rights of disenfranchised Negroes. Engaging in voter registration drives by crossing Hillside Avenue, we called it the Mason-Dixon Line. Still too young to vote, but able bodied to answer the call for “what we could do for our country!”

The violent death of the youthful president, follow by Martin Luther King,Jr. and Bobby Kennedy - only served to motivate us to organize and out our bodies on the line.

We wore Cali mask at Nixon’s inauguration in Washington DC to point our the absurdity of blaming one soldier for carrying out a policy he was not responsible for instituting.

Our zeal was irrepressible. We studied in alternative colleges and traveled to Canada to work across the border with like-minded reformers who sought to advance progressive education in schools.

We must learn from past mistakes and the ancient systems of inquiry. The library was our haven, years before the internet was a distant construct.

I remember a dream l had as l questioned my own capacity to master the classics of Western Civilization. These three words remained to guide my course of study: Words Are Friends.

That was my rock, my shield!

Thank you, Steven, for opening up this discourse. We must continue with fortitude against a sea of troubles. These is no alternative. The words and actions of those who preceded us can serve as a warning, a warning we must heed.

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