Thursday, April 13, 2006


In yesterday's post, which was a meme of six weird things about me, I mentioned that my personal real life hero is Harriet Tubman. I admire her for her grace, her courage, her determination, and her strength of conviction. She was a woman who wanted freedom, and found a way to attain it...once she had tasted the sweet flavor, however, she determined that she must free others, so she went back into harm's way, so that she might rescue others. I'm assuming you all know of her work. Of how she, along with the help of the underground railroad, spirited slaves out of the south to their freedom in Canada. How she served as a nurse and a spy during the Civil War. How she became active with the suffragettes, and made speeches about women's rights. How many of us would find the strength to do 1/10th of what she did? Who among us would, after escaping with our lives, after having grown up suffering severe beatings at the hands of a cruel master, be able to muster the strength to go back, into danger, where our capture would mean horrors beyond our imagining. And she did this again, and again, and again. Her life was an example to us all.

I started this post with the simple idea of telling a cute Maya told me yesterday, that when she was little, and they were supposed to talk about heroes at school, and I told her about my hero, Harriet Tubman, she imagined her as being able to fly, and that she wore a cape. That she flew down from the sky and rescued slaves from the south, like Superman or Wonder Woman. I love that mental picture. But even that doesn't compare with the real Harriet Tubman.

Do you have a real-life hero?


Ally Bean said...

Good question.

I'd say that mine would be Diane Sawyer. She combined a little bit of pretty with lots of smart-- and has remained truthful and resilient in an industry known for chewing up people. I think she's cool and funny and sharp. Would that I were so pulled together.

One of her quotes sums up my philosophy of life. She said something like, the one thing I've learned in life is to pay attention. Amen.

hellomelissa said...

my hero was my (late) friend wendy. she opened my small little closed mind as a teenager and thus opened the entire world for me. she always knew how to see things from another's point of view, and spent whatever time she was not with her huge family (4 kids, three are triplets) doing things like fundraising for a reading machine for a legally blind girl in the neighborhood. she did it all with a smile, and was first to laugh at herself. after watching her battle breast cancer for 7 years bravely and pass with incredible dignity, i feel incredibly lucky to have been counted as one of her family although not related by blood. my daughter's middle name is wendy, and her first name is that of your OTHER heroine, j! way to tie it all together, huh? thanks again for the food for thought.

Jess Riley said...

What a good question! I have lots of real-life heroes, including my mom, my best friend, my late and living grandfathers ... but in terms of more famous heroes, I've always admired "whistleblowers" and people who weren't afraid to stand up for what is right in the face of tremendous adversity & danger. (Chances are, there's been a movie made about their lives: Karen Silkwood, Oscar Schindler, Paul Rusesabagina, Edward R. Murrow, etc.)