Ruby Bridges at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service

Ruby Bridges at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service

well our next story exemplifies much of what we just talked about the deep civic engagement that runs through the history of New Orleans the courage the resilience of his people people like Ruby Bridges I was one of four six-year-old children girls to integrate the public school system here in New Orleans in 1960 when I look at the Norman Rockwell painting and I see myself I always say that the lesson I took away was a lesson that dr. King tried to teach all of us and that was that we should never look at a person and judge them by the color of their skin I crossed a picket line a mob every day for a whole year there was a woman there to greet me she did everything she could to make my day fun she not only taught me but she read stories to me we played games I knew that if I got past the mob and inside of the building I was gonna have a great day and it was because of her so she showed me her heart and I began to realize that there was no way she was like the people outside I couldn't judge her the same way and so I believed at that moment I learned the lesson of dr. King died trying to teach us thank you I am thank you thank you I am living proof that one person one child can help shift society toward what is good for the common good but none of us achieve greatness alone my mother wanted me to have the opportunity to attend the school closest to my home at that time it was an all-white school my father did not want to embroil our family and controversy let alone put me in danger he resisted my mother's wishes you know who won that argument my mother convinced him that despite the risk they had to take this step forward not just for me but for all black children my parents were brave enough to confront bigotry uniting alongside our brothers and sisters in the civil rights movement together they made my first steps into William Frantz public school possible each of us has the opportunity to be a catalyst for solutions an opportunity to inspire people to come together and to build a better tomorrow I've dedicated my life to this belief in service my commitment to service began with a program called Ruby's bridges that was established to foster racial healing by providing cultural connections between students from diverse backgrounds since that time I have also become a strong advocate for children's literacy last year my foundation along with my friend Cheryl Landrieu hosted the first-ever New Orleans Children's Book Festival and it was an overwhelming success gathering thousands of children's from all parts of the city and various walks of life to celebrate the power of books we are currently planning the second Festival to be held this fall which will be an even greater success today I spend most of my time in places where people and books come together classrooms across America I speak to children telling my story encouraging them to learn about each other to honor each other's gifts and to love what makes each of us special and important my message to you is the very same We the People form a more perfect union when we do that together I urge you to reach out to your colleagues this week share your stories find common ground and put the best ideas to work back in your own communities thank you god bless and enjoy your stay [Applause]

33 thoughts on “Ruby Bridges at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service

  1. Thank you Ruby, Mr and Mrs Bridges !

    I am not American but was schooled in several 'black' majority countries. In 1996, a white South African man laughed at how he so loved one of those countries because its apartheid is generally accepted. He was right. There is a division between 1) the whites, lighter skinned token blacks with money and 2) the poor black marginalized people. Although it is becoming more about money, things have changed only marginally. All of those countries have the same issue but w varying degrees.

    I'll explain.

    In a different country, I taught foreign languages to adults. Among my students was a high school language teacher who could not conjugate the verb 'to be' in the past tense. Consider the implications for her students who needed to do the same exams as me! My high schools always had the best teachers. I had been introduced to all the Spanish tenses, including pluperfect subjunctive … and that woman did not know the simple past tense. Before you judge her (as I did initially), consider her initiative for attending those classes in her personal time.

    Anyway, people shrug their shoulders, puzzled even at those other "lazy", "unintelligent" people. When looking for work, especially high paying ones, your school is the deal breaker in those countries.

    The untold part of this story however is what happens in the workplace with those bright blacks who actually 'make it'. But that's another story! Change is slow as that was 1960 and, in 2014, many whites still think racism does not exist. In 2009, a man told me that, Obama's post "proves" it. I think apartheid has gotten a facelift and  gone underground!

  2. Are you fucking serious?! so what if she's big, look at what she has done for the Black Community you dumbass!

  3. Who ever disliked this vid is racist I am white but who cares black and whites can be friends together as one

  4. Really 4 dislikes. I guest they had the time out of their racist day to find this video and dislike this. Some people!

  5. There are more white folk out there givin this strong lady a standing ovation than there are of her own 'color'…and that my friends…is the power of faith , prayer, support, courage and perseverence… God bless ya Ruby for making America better for 'immigrants' or the 'colored'

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