Keshia Thomas – Compassion is More Powerful Than Anger
In 1996, when an group of anti-KKK protesters realized there was a KKK supporter in their midst, things quickly got out of hand.
The group chased the man and started hitting him with their signs. Keshia Thomas, who was 18 at the time, jumped in and covered his body to protect the man from being beaten.
She was quoted as saying she’d been hurt in the past and wished someone had stuck up for her.
Her courage reminds me that hate doesn’t defeat hate, it just makes things uglier. If you can remember that even your worst enemy is a human being who was born as loving and innocent as you were, you will live a more beautiful and fulfilling life.
Katherine Switzer – Strength is Greater Than Power
Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. At the time in 1967 women were not allowed to compete in the marathon.
She made no attempt to hide her gender. When press covering the event noticed her running, the race organizer Jack Semple ran out after Switzer and tried to physically remove her from the race, snatch her numbers off, and shouted at her to “Get the hell out of my race.” Switzer’s boyfriend pushed Semple aside and he and other runners formed a shield around her through the entire race. She finished with a time of 4:20.
Initially, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) responded by threatening women with disqualification from future athletic events if they tried to run against men. Eventually, five years after Switzer completed the Boston marathon, they changed the rules in 1972 so that women could compete in the same event.
Katherine Switzer took first place in the 1974 Boston marathon, and second place the following year.
Her courage reminds me that having the bravery to do things differently, and the inner strength to keep going against all opposition, can be tremendously difficult. But it can change the world.