“When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised. Not one day.
[Hamilton] is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall, and light from dying embers; remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love, is love, is love, is love, is love, is love, is love, is love, cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing Vanessa’s symphony; Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.”[Speech by Lin-Manuel Miranda: 2016 Tony Awards]
Powerful messages for these troubling times and a poignant reminder that one life CAN bring about change by affecting the lives of others. Hope and love are contagious and, despite the efforts of hate and ignorance, can spread from a singular source and reach the entire world.
Dear… is a unique way to hear the powerful biographies of iconic figures while also hearing and seeing some of the lives they have changed through their work in the form of letters they’ve received. Ten-thirty minute episodes that could not have come at a better time.
I found such genuine and refreshing inspiration from these episodes. Figures I thought I knew well like Oprah, Lin, Spike, and Stevie expanded my knowledge of all they had achieved and what they had gone through to get there. Others I knew by name only like Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Yara Shahidi, Misty Copeland, and Aly Raisman gave me further hope in what a human being can accomplish when they fight, tooth-and-nail, for what they believe in. The one, seemingly random, episode with Big Bird both surprised and delighted me in the way only nostalgia can. Yes, for those wondering, little Raul occasionally watched some Sesame Street when not consumed by the horror movies his mother rented at Blockbuster or Video Ave.(Anyone else know Video Ave.?) After Dear Big Bird however, I realized I did not appreciate the lessons from the Street back then as I probably should have.
This is a series where you are likely to learn something in every episode even if the topic doesn’t hit close to home. For example, Jane’s episode was good and it further informed me of some of the dangers nature faces every day but it didn’t move me like Lin’s story of starting from the bottom, Hispanic and poor, and writing two of the greatest musicals in history. Or Gloria’s story of leading the movement for legalizing abortion in the US so women could have a choice…
”If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
When I heard this I had to pause… Sacrament: a Christian rite.
If men had to endure pregnancy, abortion wouldn’t only be legal, it would be a rite ordained by God himself.
Gloria’s words rocked beliefs, evoked thought, and brought people to the streets in demand of change.
Oprah Winfrey walked into a county in GA with her camera crew and asked questions that shone a light on ignorance and bigotry in America in the late 1980’s. Challenging the status quo and inspiring people to act… to continue… to fight.
If you’re human, this show is for you. I encourage you to watch all of the episodes but feel free to jump around, it’s what we did. We were surprised by how powerful and personally relevant we found the stories we left for last to be.
In these times we are experiencing today I want to leave you with one final quote from the show. It’s from Spike Lee who was born in 1957. A quote that is particularly upsetting when you consider how relevant it still is today. A reminder of why people are currently out in the streets, all over the world, challenging the status quo. Shining a light on injustice. Rocking belief, evoking thought, and DEMANDING change. Fighting for the human right to live.
”You have to be ten times better to succeed.”
”Mom, that’s not fair.”
”F^#@ fair. This country isn’t set up for us to succeed.”