An update from Karma, a junior human rights and political science double major with a minor in law and legal reasoning:

As I return from the 10th Annual SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, I have a shadow lingering over my head, a shadow that has existed since March 15, 2011.

Today – March 15, 2014 – marks the three-year anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian Revolution. Born to Syrian immigrants, I have been greatly influenced by Syrian culture, history, and most importantly, the people. Throughout my entire life up until I was 17 years old, I spent every summer vacation in Syria. I never thought my last day in Syria would be my last.

As I think about Emmett Till, who was murdered at 14, body mutilated, for allegedly whistling at a white woman, I am reminded of Hamza al-Khateeb, the 11-year-old boy from Daraa, Syria who wrote graffiti on a wall, imitating what he had seen others do throughout Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. He too, was brutally murdered, body mutilated, unrecognizable, and returned to his parents, who, like Emmet Till’s mother, Mamie Till, chose to share his picture with the world.

They both sparked revolutions.

As I return from this trip, I now see a movement in Syria that at times seems bleak and hopeless, as one with potential. As I look at the struggle that African Americans went through in this country and the progress that
they were able to achieve, the seemingly impossible Syrian dream, seems very much possible.

They too, have a dream, and I am recharged, inspired, and ready to make a difference, as I keep my faith in God, who is always with the oppressed.