She began telling me a story about a woman on a bus. She told me that this woman had dark skin, but that the bus driver tried to make her move to the back of the bus so a man with light skin could sit in her seat. The woman refused because it wasn't fair.
She told me another story about how "in the olden days" people with light skin didn't want to shop with people with dark skin, so there were certain stores made only for the "white people" ("because sometimes they're just called the white people, Mom"). Or that the "dark people" could only go in if there were signs up that allowed them to enter.
Another story was about a dark boy who didn't think things were fair. When he grew up he became a pastor ("like Daddy!") and fought for what was right.
After telling me a few of these stories, she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and said with disbelief, "Mommy, can you believe those things used to happen? It's so sad!"
I was a little choked up as I talked to her; I'm proud that she's learning the rocky history of our country and seeing the injustice of it all. She has a sensitive heart and I don't think until it was pointed out at school that she saw any difference in people and thought that some are treated differently. When I asked if the lady on the bus was named Rosa Parks, she gasped and said, "Yes! Do you know her??" I explained that I didn't know her, but that I know Rosa's story and the other stories that she shared with me. She was impressed and we talked about it a little while longer.
It was hard not to laugh when she shook her head and said, "It's just sad. It means you and Daddy wouldn't be able to shop at the same store!!!" Have you seen Gary? He's a California boy with a year-round tan, but I'm pretty sure we would have been able to shop at the same store. But, I'm glad she sees that those times allowed for some very unfair situations... to put it lightly.
So today at lunch we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. and why there's no school today. And when we prayed we thanked God for giving so many men and women courage to stand up for what's right. I hope my kids follow the lead of the brave people from Emma's school stories and always do what's right and treat people fairly and with love. Because today is about a lot more than just a day off school.