Small Acts of Courage
A Legacy of Endurance and the Fight for Democracy
by Ali Velshi
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Pub Date 07 May 2024 | Archive Date 21 May 2024
A captivating family history that illustrates how small actions can have an outsized political impact.
Small acts of courage matter. Sometimes, they change the world. Our history books are filled with the stories of those who fought for democracy and freedom—for idealism itself—against all odds, from Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. These iconic struggles for social change illustrate the importance of engagement and activism, and offer a template for the battles we are fighting today. But using the right words is often easier than taking action; action can be hard, and costly.
More than a century ago, MSNBC host Ali Velshi’s great-grandfather sent his seven-year-old son to live at Tolstoy Farm, Gandhi’s ashram in South Africa. This difficult decision would change the trajectory of his family history forever. From childhood, Velshi’s grandfather was imbued with an ethos of public service and social justice, and a belief in absolute equality among all people—ideals that his children carried forward as they escaped apartheid, emigrating to Kenya and ultimately Canada and the United States.
In Small Acts of Courage, Velshi taps into 125 years of family history to advocate for social justice as a living, breathing experience—a way of life more than an ideology. With rich detail and vivid prose, he relates the stories of regular people who made a lasting commitment to fight for change, even when success seemed impossible. This heartfelt exploration of how we can breathe new life into the principles of pluralistic democracy is an urgent call to action—for progress to be possible, we must all do whatever we can to make a difference.