On June 4, 1968, California voters went to the polls and resoundingly supported a man who has been regarded as an icon of their generation: Robert F. Kennedy. Only four hours after the polls closed, Kennedy declared victory and addressed his supporters. As he made his way out of the ballroom, he was shot and fatally wounded.
On the anniversary of his death and the eve of the California primary, I can't help but think about the legacy "Bobby" left, summarized succinctly in one of his most famous quotes: “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
After college, I came home to Selma with the intention of making things better. I wanted to help move my hometown forward and make a difference for the next generation. It's said often that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and I wanted to come back to work hard and make proud those whose shoulders on which I stand.
Through my six years in the Legislature, I've realized that making a difference doesn't always come about through policy or sweeping political change. Sometimes it comes about in small increments, in "ripples of hope" as Bobby Kennedy called it, that combine to create an irrefutable strength that creates a legacy for a generation.
As we move forward boldly into the 21st Century, the possibilities for our generation's legacy are endless. Do we want to work to build quality education for all children? Do we want to work for revitalization of our city centers? Do we want to build a stronger community for our children to grow up?
We can do all of these things, but we can't do any of them alone.
We can work together to build for the future by creating these tiny ripples of hope--by each of us doing our part to make our neighborhood better today than it was yesterday and by investing in ourselves, our neighbors, and our community.
We can do big, important things in Selma and across Alabama. We've never been shy about setting our eye on a mountain top and letting the world know we have a goal to achieve.
As Bobby said, "few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events."
Our work isn't over. I dare you to be a part of the change.