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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2165159-A-Minority-of-One
Rated: GC · Documentary · Inspirational · #2165159
What difference can one person make? It is not one event. It is a lifetime commitment.
"Invalid Item Contest. Prompt: 5 Biggest Crimes Against Humanity - 'tell me what we can do to stop this from ever happening again.'

Listen to the audio version  

Working backward in time -

Flashback paying it forward
She sits in an Ogden, Utah chair/bed, oxygen tubes in her nose.
A three-hundred-pound patient rolled, broke her kneecap.
She can’t work. She can’t just sit.
Advice learned from personal experience is shared.
She just got off the phone.
A friend suffering a loving husband’s physical abuse is leaving him.
Trump era regulations have closed all nearby state women’s shelters.
How to survive? No skills. No money. No hope but a phone life-line.
The life-line works.
The friend calls to celebrate her first year of no abuse in thirty years.

Flashback paying it forward
Salt Lake City, Utah.
Driving Seventh South.

There is not a single black person on the streets. She is in a foreign country.
She has newly arrived as a Hurricane Katrina immigrant from Louisiana.
She is lucky. With her CNA nursing license, she can work anywhere.
Her first day on the job.
Not a greeting. A command. “What religion are you?”
Asked repeatedly from all white faces.
They turn blank when she gives the wrong answer.
She sits alone with a dying man on her ward. He doesn’t speak English.
No known religion.
She prays with him as he passes over comforted by the touch of her hand.

Flashback paying it forward
Katrina. Aftermath. Her home. The only one with gas for cooking. Hot water.
She keeps her door unlocked for the neighbors.
She works 18 hour days pulling corpses off buses.
Tends to the overflow of displaced, lost, sick and needy.
She sleeps at work on a cot.
Her cell phone is the only one that works. She shares.
She gets the O.K. to go home,
Her home open door policy has been abused.
It doesn’t matter. She still has a home. So many do not.

Flashback paying it forward
The same neighbors blockade her move-in.
Third time was the charm escaping her abusive husband.
The KKK regional leader lives two blocks down.
The hefty blacks she hires to help her move don’t give in.
They stand guard in front of her grandchildren she tends for the day.
Standoff.
Local and state police break it up.
She is here to stay.
She is the only white working on an AIDS ward.
Aids patients prostitute themselves outside the fence sharing the disease.
They swear the Johns deserve what they get. She patrols the fence when she can.
A fourteen-year-old rape victim with the disease dies in her arms giving birth.

Flashback paying it forward
Her husband says he can't find a decent job.
She is the first woman working at a local hot aluminum factory.
She supports her family and goes to school for her CNA.
She ignores the harassment and sabotage.
The work gets done, on time, and done right.
A worker walks up behind her forklift.
Flips open the radiator. Runs.
Third degree burns on her back.
She is carried out on a stretcher to the hospital.
Sorry. It was an accident. No charges.
She comes back to work.
A guy throws a red-hot ingot burning her arm.
Back to the hospital.
So much for women's rights. Best to stay alive.
She earns her CNA.

Flashback paying it forward
She is a five-year-old child in Illinois.
She is told to put her head down.
She doesn’t. Her mom continues driving.
A black man hanging from a lamppost swings into view.
Back home. Gunshots shatter windows.
Extra mattresses pushed up to stop the bullets.
Her mom owns the fishing resort.
Blacks are welcome immigrants her mom offers shelter.

Flashback paying it forward
Back to today.
The phone rings.

*Note: What difference can one person make? It is not one event. It is a lifetime commitment. My wife is my little bit of heaven on earth. She lives to see a smile grow on someone else's face. It is often my own. My love grows deeper every day.
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