Changing The Future
When I relocated here from New York in the mid-80s, Rodney Square was a block from my dad’s new office on Market Street (his old one was on Wall Street) and a few miles away from our new home. The only thing I knew about it was that it was rare to see a statue of a horse *only* on its hind legs — I had never heard of Caesar Rodney. They taught us about New York’s signers in New York; at the time, the only thing I knew about Delaware was that it was not too far from my aunt in Pennsylvania, and yes, I could have my own room.
It is apparently an impressive feat to balance an entire statue on two thin equine ankles.
I remember this because a year later, I went on a school trip to the Soviet Union and there is a statue there of a horse only on its hind legs, and I was with my dad and we discussed it for a few moments. That statue is in what is now known as St. Petersburg, which at the time was called Leningrad. But they changed the name OF A HUGE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED CITY because a city honoring Vladimir Lenin and his communist regime was something thats time had passed. It didn’t mean that the city ceased existing and of course the world has not forgotten about Lenin in the years since. Still, the city became St. Petersburg and I’m sure maps still exist with the old name but time marches on and it’s been 30 years since then.
In 30 years, will Rodney Square still be known as Rodney Square? No one knows. But last weekend, my child and a thousand other mother’s children knelt a few blocks from there, fists raised - kneeling in solidarity to honor a man none of us had ever met, who called out for his own mother as he lay dying with someone’s knee on his neck.
I want to be clear: being against police brutality does not make someone against police. Being against gun violence does not make someone against guns. It is possible to be both concerned with episodes and tolerance of excessive force and support law enforcement AT THE SAME TIME. When we boil our feelings down to 140 characters or a hashtag, nuance gets lost. We make someone else wrong so we can be right, when in reality - there are so many shades along the spectrum. In 30 years, we won’t remember the hashtag. We will remember that our city had had enough, and when citizens requested it, our city took down a statue that some found offensive. It doesn’t change our history — but it might, it just might, change our future.
Also, a note to JK Rowling: I want to be clear: if someone were to tell me that they identify as a woman, I’m here for it. If they tell me they identify as a Hufflepuff, I’m here for it. Doesn’t mess with my Gryffindor heart one bit.