The Help — Thoughts of Theresa El-Amin
 — Theresa El- Amin

[Posted as part of an email dialog in response to Joyce Ladner's comments regarding the movie "The Help" which was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett.]

Dear Ruby,

Thanks for posting your thoughts. I read what Joyce Ladner wrote, too. I passed her words on to my friends before we went out to see the movie. I had a mother and aunt who were "the help" at times in their lives. I remember that my mother didn't want to be "the help" while her older sister enjoyed her work and modeled her home and built her wardrobe from the items discarded by her employers.

My mother took a job at Grady Hospital as a dietary worker and eventually attended Carver Vocational Nursing School and became an LPN in the 50s. Her Atlanta voter registration card is dated 1954.

"The Help" brought back many memories of my childhood. When I think about what shaped me as an organizer, "The Help" reminds me of the powerful black women in my life who not only survived but thrived against all odds.

As I organize here in Columbus GA, I'm struggling to identify black women willing to take a chance to make a difference in the fight against poverty and mass incarceration. "The Help" was a moment of inspiration I needed. "The Help" reminds me that we're working for that "Beloved Community" as the ultimate prize.

For my part, I plan to keep organizing. I'll never give up.

Copyright © 2011, Theresa El-Amin
Columbus, Georgia


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