What is Courage?


“Without COURAGE, we cannot practice any other virtue consistently.”
– Maya Angelou

Courage as a root word come from the Latin root “cor” which means heart. It evolved to mean bravery. I think its original root tells the true source and nature of courage in humanity. I believe it takes heart or caring to act courageously.

I have three examples of what I would call courageous behavior. These are examples of people who have taken bold steps in their lives and made some big and invaluable changes to our past, present, and even for my, our, and their own futures.

One is from the past and goes into the present. The person I would call courageous is Dame Stephanie Shirley also known as Steve Shirley who founded Freelance Programers in 1962, an all woman computer company. Her story is well told in a TED talk and, particularly, from TED talks on NPR.org.

This is the link: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/?showDate=2016-10-14
The show about Steve Shirley, as she is known in the business world, is:
“Dame Stephanie Shirley: How Do You Break Into an Industry While Breaking ALL the rules?”

Another example is a continuation of a story about the courage of the 21 children who are part of Our Children’s Trust who are suing the U.S. Federal Government about climate change and its impact on all of their futures and its impact on all children on the planet. You can see the other climate actions taking place around the world because of these kids when you go to their website:

These children and young adults appeared in court again in Eugene, OR along with their lawyers to continue the fight on September 7. No decision has been reached, yet. The fact that they are from all over the USA and are fighting for all American children and children world wide is very inspiring and courageous to me. They are legally fighting oil companies, and some of the biggest industries in this country. In my previous blog, I spoke about the youngest person, Levi Draheim, who is a plaintiff and who you can see in the corner of the photo in this story about Our Children’s Trust from that September 7, 2016.

Generational injustice: Inside the legal movement suing for climate action now

These young people are influencing other youths to step up and courageously join this law suit. From Maine, here is another story.

The final group where I have witnessed great courage, is Black Lives Matter movement. The first protests took great courage. Our “justice” system is broken for people of color. This truth has been hidden all over the USA for years. Exposing the lack of justice, particularly for African Americans, has taken great courage. Incarceration in the USA was becoming another “business”, that was destroying the lives of so many Americans of color. Our police forces have become more militarized. Not to mention the great number of innocent black people, women and men, who have died at the hands of some of our police officers.

This is not an easy or simple problem to solve. We cannot blame the entire problem on our police officers. I taught one summer at an inner city school. The school where I taught was only in a medium-size city. What I saw and the hopeless I saw in the 10 year-old children as assistant in the classroom, was deeply depressing and baffling. These kinds of neighborhoods are all across this country. This level of hopelessness exacerbates healing in these communities. This is a major problem to tackle and REAL CARE, not just window dressing, will “fix” it. I do not have the answers here. What I do know is that we have to work together in a respectful way of all people and face this together because whether we like it or not, we ALL created these neighborhoods with the history of race and racism that this country has had.

This is the story of the founding of the Black Lives Matter Movement:

It is people and children such as these that give me hope about our future. So often in the past and now, we are waiting for our political leaders to tackle what we need to change. We citizens and individuals working together, can be courageous together, just as Stephanie Shirley was and Our Children’s Trust and Black Lives Matter are already changing our world now for the better for each and every one of us.


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