When I was in second grade, I got in trouble because I refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (I stood up but I would not say the words). I told my teacher that in my religion we do not pray to idols, so I could not pledge my allegiance to an object, i.e. a flag. I was summarily punished by the school for my first act of civil disobedience at the age of seven.
A few years later, I rallied the 4th graders to protest the school’s sexist dress code that prohibited girls from wearing pants to school. I also insisted that the school choir let me sing “Maoz Tzur” (a Jewish song for Hannukah) as a solo at the “Christmas Concert.” I can still hear my mom coughing in the back of the elementary school auditorium.
Sometimes I need to draw strength from the roots of resistance that run deep in my bones.
- Where do you find your inner strength?
- What keeps you inspired when the going gets rough?
- Who are your role models for courage?