Imagine this, if you will. You have an infant daughter at home. You leave for work one morning, expecting her to be taken care of while you are at work. Instead you come home to find that your child, who is not even a year old, has been raped by her adult cousin.
I would love to say that this story is fiction, but the story is sadly true.
I don’t have any children, but this story makes my stomach turn. What kind of sick person rapes an eight month old? What kind of society allows not just looks the other way when it comes to rape and sexual assault, but also silently paves the way for a baby to be raped?
If this is not a sign that we need severe change in our culture, I don’t know what is.
Change happens in one of two forms: either we actively choose to change or change is forced upon us.
In the late 1980’s Christian Picciolini was a teenager growing up in the Chicago area. The son of Italian immigrants, he was just another young boy disillusioned with life. He found an emotional home with a local skinhead group, eventually climbing up the ranks to lead the group and becoming ingrained in the culture of the group. Then he was forced to reckon with reality and he had to make a choice: to stay with the skinheads or choose to respect the diverse community that he lived in?
This one of my favorite books that I have read this year. Told in a memoir, first person style, his descent into the hate groups is scary to say the least. But, it is also a reminder that we can change and that we are capable of living up to the ideals that are part and parcel of the foundations of this country.
I absolutely recommend it.