What Civil Rights means to me: Paige McMahon’s response

When I reflect upon civil rights, I think about how powerful they are and how devastating it would be if they were stripped away. My entire life has been built on the fact that I have reaped the benefit of what previous generations before me struggled and fought for. It means that previous generations of women fought for my ability to vote, to have a fair trial and to pursue an education. I was born not having to fight for these rights. Civil Rights are the reason why I am enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and will be attending the University of Wisconsin Madison for Graduate School. When I think of what civil rights mean, I also think about how privileged I am to be alive in today’s era and to not have to fight for them. I can only imagine how exhausting, frightening and angering it must have been for the people who had to relentlessly fight for their own rights. I think that what previous generations of marginalized groups fought for not only needs to be remembered but used as inspiration for instigating a positive change in society today. Prejudices still prevail in people’s lives every day; it means that the battle is far from over, and we as a society need to keep working to make lives better for people.

As a result of the state-mandated suspension of large meetings for the next several weeks, the 2020 Distinguished Lecture will not occur this April. However, in an effort to continue the important conversation about Civil Rights and our community values at UW-Platteville, the “Exponent” is still accepting submissions in response to the question “What are Civil Rights to me?”
Responses can be personal reflections or based in a disciplinary definition, such as an historical view or legal view of the question. Student organizations are welcome to submit a response to be published on behalf of your organization.
We are currently accepting submissions and will accept submissions through May 1. Please send questions or submissions to Dr. Pip Gordon, [email protected].