Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was an American political figure, diplomat and activist. She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office, making her the longest-serving First Lady of the United States. Roosevelt served as United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1952. President Harry S. Truman later called her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements
via Regina Ochoa, August 21 2020
"There is no greater time of opportunity than today to make your voice heard.
Lead. Be true to what is right and decent. 'Now' is here."
For my tenure in the human body, I often spoke to the women of America. It was their solitary lifestyle as suppressed individuals with which I shared the genetic disposition. Yet it was not my choice to stay quiet, unremarkable and without voice.
I used to think about how horrible my mother was to have referred to me as 'granny' when I was a small child. My unattractive feminine appearance was seemingly unsightly to Mother's demure sensibility. I either offended her constitution or displeased her ears. Either way, the matter was settled in my early years: I was to remain one of society's less attractive females.
Throughout my life, I never quite understood what was so very unattractive about who I was. I did not see what may have been unappealing or degrading about my athletic stature, intelligence, cosmopolitan societal upbringing, and desire to consider all men and women as equal.
Seeing my unattractiveness from my current vantage point, I recognize Mother and Father bestowed upon me this genetic gift, which allowed me to walk among all people and deliver a message of hope.
At the time, I certainly was unaware that my design to be in the body with which I was born, would have thus an impact on my life; but it was so destined. I was orphaned before I was 10, and both parents who could have prevented me from pursuing my calling were no longer partners to my life.
In my early years of high school, I was introduced to the many ways of humankind. I saw poverty from economics or regional environmental impact; I traveled streets avoided by tourists. Many sights I observed might cause recoil in any normal girl's life. Yet I was intrigued, with immediacy, by the importance of my introduction to this world of disparagement, which would most certainly be denied to me if my mother were alive.
I sought to assist those who did not have a voice: the downtrodden and the uneducated. My high-pitched, shrill, northeastern voice that made most cringe when I began to speak, became my instrument for change. I used it with a practiced measure of communication once I recognized the power which my words and voice carried. It was the message of hope to the many who saw no future, only their confined and dark, imprisoned world used for another's monetary gain. The working class and those "less than" — the coal miners, the garment workers, the underage workers and sweatshop employees. Racial injustices, language barriers, and humankind inequalities of all degrees were the moral norms with which business practices were carried on by those of privilege and wealth.
The slums of oppression; with their disease and destitution beckoned me to enter and investigate. Who? How? When? Where? And why? These were the questions with which I ventured into the depths of dark places, looking for answers.
I took my walks along the river where the water flowed with the dumped waste of tanneries. My nostrils burned from the acrid fumes of heated lye and urine. Along the river’s edge, bare-footed children played amid rodent carcasses. Not a care regarded for their health.
I would see our elegant society, the men in their fine leather coats, and felted hats. Ladies’ chapeaus adorned in plumage and tiny fabric flowers, all made by children and women in our own millinery factories.
Generation after generation of oppressed societies were destined to continue this way if not for a change.
I wanted change. No man, woman or child should be working or living in conditions such as what I witnessed.
It is painful to know how little stride humanity has made in its purpose.
I come to bring a message that there is more than what you see available to you. There is more to your existence than the unending mouse-wheel you find turning beneath your feet. Step off of it. There is no need to follow all the others on the wheels of political and social suppression.
Make yourself a new path and discover the joy in walking upright and feeling lighter without the fears and worries of that ever-spinning treadmill. You, too, have a voice. Your courage is found within, not at the local drugstore or alcohol dispensary. It takes bravery to lead and to do what is right. Compassion comes from listening, then leading the many voices who cannot find a way forward.
How do you show them the way? Hear their plea. Find solutions. Make changes. Stand your ground when injustices are all around you. Step forward to create commotion to raise understanding for the misunderstood. Be bold in a world that wants you to stay quiet and keep the status quo.
There is no greater time of opportunity than today to make your voice heard. Lead. Be true to what is right and decent. "Now" is here. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for you.
Baptized Episcopalian, I believed I lived my life knowing right from wrong because of my religious upbringing. But I know more today, from this vantage point. I know that it was my belief in humankind to make the right choice by right action, which guided me. I still believe this. It is not through fear of God or Hell with which we gain an understanding of compassion and wisdom, but our connectedness to each other on the soul level.
I ask of you today, "Are you connected to another at the soul level?"
If you answer, "No," then you have much work to do.
Eleanor Roosevelt: Six Quotes to Live By
1. "No one can make you inferior without your consent."
2. "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
3. "Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again."
4. "Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product ... For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people."
5. "We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time meeting each thing as it comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.
6. "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."