We Rise Up

A Story

by Jessica Reidy
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Terrific short story! I can feel the anger of your protagonist. Satisfying ending as well. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Jessica: A wonderfully unique and moving story. I think more needs to be written on the Romany culture.

Why is this a successfully told story with great impact? Because I care about the people. It helps to be a good writer too! Thanks for publishing good quality stuff.

I think it's a moving story for several reasons, but I particularly appreciate that the Romany women were presented as women to be admired, without suggesting they are either perfect or to be pitied. I felt sympathy for the women, but was still left with the sense that there is reason for hope. After all it's clear, from the time that we first meet them, that the women are aware of the pervasive prejudice in the community, and that they are seen as "less than," at best. And yet, they are still out-and-about, expressing their authentic selves, determined to not only persevere but enjoy life. The Romany women are not cowering in a corner, but out in the street, being proactive, and boldly offering their wares, when in fact it seems reasonable to think they have a difficult time selling to certain segments of the population. The neat thing is the fact that the narrator is (mostly) just stating the facts. She leaves the impression that she is not asking for pity for herself either, so much as understanding, making the reader aware of her challenges but trusting that the reader will know she just wants to be as free as anyone else, to be herself, and that she would simply appreciate being able to maintain her dignity as a human being. It's a fine line when one experiences racism, or any other kind of prejudice; there is a sense of responsibility to not only think the best of everyone, but to share one's personal experience and the conclusions to which one has arrived, for better or for worse. There is a risk involved, that once those details are shared, those prejudiced will use that very information to treat one worse than before. It takes a certain amount of courage, but once the story is told, at least the teller can say she tried to help someone understand her perspective, which in itself can afford more freedom, more self-respect, than remaining silent. Thanks!

I read this with tears in my eyes. Thank you, Jess, for sharing your experience with us. I'm so sorry you had such experiences. Much discussion is needed in the schools , on how we see and interact with others whom we see as being different from us. Having lived abroad for a while myself, I understand what it is like to be the "outsider," to have people speak about you as the "stranger" and forget that we too have feelings and can understand what is being said. I know that throughout history, whenever there is a recession, the "foreigners" are always the scapegoat, it's easy to blame them and deflect from the real problems . . .

What if every country said: "Everyone must now live in the country where they were born!" First, there would not be room in Ireland, for instance, for the millions who have left its shores and settled all over the world. Second, we would all be so bored without the enrichment of different cultures in our lives. Third, other countries need our talented people and we need their talented people. We all need to cooperate and treat one another as human beings.