What are Civil Rights to me? Rea Kirk’s response

A dictionary would say civil rights are about legal protections. To me, civil rights are so much more. Cornel West said, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” I agree with Cornel West.

What has happened to justice and to love? Why do some people hate me without having ever met me because of my religion? Why do some people hate you because of the amount of melanin in your skin? Why is it wrong to love another person but okay to hate because this love is between two who are the same gender? When did the phrase “law and order” become code for oppression of people of color? When did it become okay to put children in cage-like conditions at the border? When did oil become more important than the sacred land of First Nations people? All of these examples show me the eroding of justice/love as a basic human value.

Pastor Zayna Thompson of Platteville’s First Congregational United Church of Christ had a banner out front of the church which said, “Whoever you are, wherever you are in your life’s path, you are welcome here.” This is justice/love. This gives everyone the right to humane and dignified treatment in a civilized society. To me, this is what civil rights mean.