Thanks to Amy Siskind and her followers, my game Bad Hombre received over a thousand downloads, and I finally had some money to donate. I decided to give first to the Southern Poverty Law Center because their work really covers everything my game is about — spreading tolerance for all people, no matter race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, and fighting hate.
Earlier this year, I asked my parents if we could go to Alabama for spring break. I wanted to visit the historic spots that shaped the Civil Rights Movement, specifically Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma. Since trump’s election I have been educating myself more about the events that transpired in the South during segregation. The SPLC’s main office is in Montgomery, and I loved the idea of making my first donation in person. Plus, it fit conveniently into our travel itinerary.
Walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge was an especially powerful experience. Less than sixty years ago at that spot brave men, women, and children faced a sea of hatred and still held their heads high. These peaceful protestors were attacked with billy clubs and tear gas. They were beaten by law enforcement as people stood by and cheered. Let that sink in: less than sixty years ago. My grandparents were teenagers when segregation was legal and enforced by elected officials throughout the South. Those people who did the oppressing, encouraged the oppressing, and supported the oppressing are still alive; the children of those people are my parents’ age.
Maybe their morals have changed. I hope so.
I was sickened standing at the church where four little girls were killed by a bomb, planted by hateful white supremacists who walked free for decades. A few yards away we walked in silence through the park where attack dogs and fire hoses were used by police to assault peaceful children, some as young as elementary school. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, but knowing the history of that spot cast everything in a sour light. Statues lined the park, immortalizing these nonviolent protests. It was an intense feeling to look at them, wondering if I would have had the courage to do what these heroes had done.
The fight for equality, tolerance, and justice is not a new struggle for our country. Contrary to what I learned in school, the Civil Rights Movement wasn’t a few peaceful protests and the “I Have a Dream” speech. Brave people risked their lives, and many gave their lives, to fight injustice. The laws that were passed were important, but they couldn’t undue centuries of bigotry. Unfortunately, America put a band aid on a deep wound and went on with its business. Like anyone that leaves a serious would untreated, we are now suffering from our negligence. We cannot let trump turn back the clock. If the Republican-led Congress isn’t going to push back, we have to. All of us.
The people at the SPLC are pushing back, and they have been doing so for almost 50 years. They welcomed me through an elaborate security check for a personal tour. I was introduced to attorneys fighting cases and analysts tracking hate groups. These inspirational and headstrong people have given me hope, and I knew as soon as I conversed with them that I had chosen the perfect organization to make my first donation. I was so proud to hand over a check for $1000; all of it going straight to fighting the roots of intolerance in this country. I could not have done it without all of your support and enthusiasm. We’re fighting trump together!
I encourage you to learn more about the SPLC. If you tell someone about my game and they download it, 70 cents more will go towards the SPLC and organizations like it.
Also, we just released the third level of Bad Hombre. Check it out. If you have already downloaded the app, make sure to update it. You are going to love it!