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Monday, December 24, 2012

My Mother and her influence on Civil Rights

My mother, Joan (King) Otto, just passed away a few days ago and I decided to look at some of the values we shared besides our differences.
My mother was a devout Catholic. That would seem a complete opposite of someone who now draws their political Inspiration from Mao Zedong and my main religious beliefs which came from Epicurean philosophy. But we shared a lot in common and I probably got as much of my moral beliefs from her as any other living person.
One important thing I learned from her was anti-racism. She was against racism when most people still cracked jokes about blacks, insulted each other by calling each other blacks and of course there were always the “N” jokes.
But my mother wanted nothing to do with that. My own mother taught me how foolish it was to judge people by their skin color.
At times a young friend once told me not to buy snacks at the ball games from blacks because they put stuff in the food that would make us turn black. My mom told me that idea was ridiculous and not the least bit true. My mom and dad always discouraged such stupidity.
My mother was no political activist, but she was supported of the buss strikes, started by Rosa Parks. She fully supported civil rights.
My mother and I both watched on watched, on TV .the famous Civil Right’s march of August 28, 1963. My mom’s biggest fear was that violence would break out, but none did. We were both surprised. Mom and I watched on TV the Mr. Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream", speech, at the end of a march in Washington, DC. I don’t think either of us realized what an important event that was at the time.
My mother had opinions all they way from her child hood. Her mother used to say that black people stunk.
“I never noticed any smell,” she said to us later.
We get inspiration from many people and many experiences. I really have my mother to thank for getting me started as an anti-racist. -សតិវ អតុ

“Dying for the sake of other people has even more weight than Sacred Mount Himalaya; dying for one’s own selfish goals is a life worth less than a goose’s feather.”

Joan Otto’s death had more weight than the Sacred Mount Himalaya.”
-a variation of two different quotes, adding some of my own.

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