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I Rise Up

The long running science fiction show Dr. Who is well known for the wild adventures of it protagonist, an alien space and time traveler known as The Doctor, who battles bullies and injustice across the universe.

Some of the show’s most poignant episodes however, are set right on earth. An episode from the shows more recent season finds the Doctor and her companions trying to thrwart the efforts of a time traveling parole who blames all of his hard times on the Civil Rights movement. He is determained to change the course of history by ensuring Rosa Parks never refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus in 1955.

At the end of the episode, they realize that the only way to ensure history plays out as it should is to remain on the fateful bus ride, ensuring that the bus is full enough that the driver will ask Rosa to give up her seat. This forces them to watch silently as Rosa refuses and is then arrested.

The scene is set to Andra Day’s Rise Up, and the song is the perfect accompaniment to a scene that reminds viewers that although activism is important, it is not easy. Rosa’s arrest is lonely and foreboding, and although in the end it was worth everything she sacrificed, the episode reminds us that it took a long time for things to get better for her.

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