Within the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama lies the Wall of Tolerance - a digital display of the names of people who have courageously pledged to take a stand against all forms of hate crime in society. These are people who take a stand against social injustice while seeking tolerance of diversity. Over half a million people have taken this pledge and their names are digitally displayed down a 20-by-40 foot wall within the Civil Rights Memorial Center.
I took this pledge many years ago but had never had the opportunity to see if my name was indeed on this 'so-called' wall. Though I had pledged financial support, I wasn't even sure the wall existed. My recent visit to the Civil Rights Memorial Center brought to fruition my desire to see the Wall of Tolerance and confirmed that I was in the league of many others. After entering my name in the data base, I received instantaneous confirmation that my commitment in the previous century was still recorded.
Today, visitors to the Civil Rights Memorial Center also have the opportunity to take the pledge and add their names to the Wall during their visit, showing that individuals are the strength of the movement for social justice. This way, future generations can join others in a timeless commitment to equality and justice. The pledge is:
By placing my name on the Wall of Tolerance, I pledge to take a stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. I will work in my daily life for justice, equality and human rights - the ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died.
A quote placed alongside the Wall from Robert F. Kennedy’s speech at Cape Town University in South Africa in 1966 reminds visitors the difference each person can make:
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of these acts will be written the history of this generation.
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.
And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.