March 20, 2014
She made a difference. How you can make a difference too!

Sometimes, I wonder:

  • Should I bother to complain?
  • Should I bother to vote?
  • Should I bother to recycle?

Does it make a difference?

Can one person (complainer, recycler, voter) really make a difference?

I have to answer with a resounding: Yes!

With more than six billion people in the world, it is easy to feel that the actions of a single individual cannot make a difference. But it can…and it does!

And today is THE day to remember this fact. Why?

One woman made a difference. On this day in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

It marked the beginning of the end for slavery in America.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s groundbreaking novel gave people a glimpse into the life of Black slaves in America.

Here is one of my favorite passages from the book:

 Mas’r Legree, as ye bought me, I’ll be a true a faithful servant to ye. I’ll give ye all the work of my hands, all my time, all my strength; but my soul I won’t give up to mortal man. I will hold onto the Lord, and put his commands before all—die or live; you may be sure on ‘t. Mas’r Legree, I ain’t a grain afeared to die. I’d as soon as die as not. Ye may whip me, starve me, burn me—it’ll only send me sooner where I want to go.

The book outraged people in the north, teaching them about the horrors of slavery and causing them to demand its abolition. It outraged southerners who felt that outsiders should not comment on or criticize their way of life. Uncle Tom’s Cabin divided the nation. It made the Civil War—and the abolition of slavery—inevitable.

But Harriet Beecher Stowe was already a powerful woman, right? Wrong!

Harriet Beecher Stowe was the 7th child (of thirteen children) born to a minister in Connecticut.  She later married a minister who believed in the abolition of slavery and they moved to Maine. The Stowes participated in the Underground Railroad and published an abolitionist newsletter.

Yet, in 1850, she was so upset about slavery that she wrote a letter stating,

 I feel that now is the time when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak. I hope that every woman can write will not be silent.

How can one person make a difference?

Everyone has a contribution to make. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s contribution was to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin and to fight for the abolition of slavery.

What can one person do?

  • Write against injustice.
  • Speak for the powerless.
  • Stand up for freedom.

There are many issues that affect the African American community as well as other racial and ethnic communities. And they all need help.  Organizations are working directly with communities to protect the rights of all people.

What can one person do?

  •  Join them.
  • Work with them.
  • Donate to them.

“The problem of race and color prejudice remains America’s greatest moral dilemma.”  ~ Rev. Martin Luther King (27 December 1962)

What can one person do?

  • Complain about it.
  • Write against it.
  • Vote against it.

Racial injustice and inequality are rampant. Intolerance is widespread. Ignorance is not bliss, but inherently dangerous.

What can one person do?

  • Educate yourself.
  • Teach others.
  • Demonstrate to the world.

When Harriet Beecher Stowe met President Lincoln during the Civil War, he remarked,

 “So, you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!”

 What can one person do?

  • Change how people think.
  • Change how YOU think.
  • Write a book/article/poem that challenges people to think.

And, yes, do recycle! (It’s good for the entire planet!)

One person can make a difference. Be that person!

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