Last Saturday in Los Angeles, my friend of 50 years, Harry Belafonte, was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar. And yesterday, while we were savoring this good news, the White House announced that James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schewerner would be posthumous recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
We must make sure that our children and all of us know our history and that the atrocities that wiped out the lives of countless individuals who died for freedom and justice during the Civil Rights Movement -- including eight Black men whose bodies were only found as the FBI dredged Mississippi rivers and swamps searching for three other young men -- do not ever happen again. We must all do our part to create a safe and hopeful nation for every child.
After I was arrested with about 90 other Black college students during my senior year at Spelman College in March 1960 for helping organize and participating in student sit-ins at Atlanta's racially segregated restaurants, I wrote in my diary when I returned to Spelman's campus: "SOMETHING WORTH LIVING AND DYING FOR!"