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Civil rights lawyer talks Black History Month and fighting for justice

Nekima Levy Armstrong leads several hundred people during a Black Lives Matter march with her daughter in tow. (Provided Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A civil rights activist is using her voice to share how her experiences growing up in the South and West Coast inspired her activism and empowered her to write a children’s book and address issues facing the African American community.

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a lawyer and activist, recently shared her thoughts on Black History Month and the fight for fairness, especially regarding race, poverty, and police violence across the U.S. Armstrong grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, where she saw the effects of racism and poverty firsthand.

“I was born into a family that experienced the impacts of Jim Crow segregation and poverty,” Armstrong said. “My grandmother picked cotton when she was a young girl. That’s always been a part of my legacy.”

When she was eight, her family moved to South Central Los Angeles, where she experienced the challenges of inner-city life. She says her eyes were wide open after the beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department, resulting in protests.

“That was my first notion if Black lives really mattered,” Armstrong said. “It really helped shape my perspective on civil rights and our need to continue to fan the flames to get the justice that we deserve.”

As a mom, Armstrong believes kids can understand and speak out against injustice. She wrote a children’s book called “J is for Justice” to teach young people about activism and the Civil Rights Movement.

“I’ve used my book to go into classrooms,” Armstrong said. “I talk to talked to them about the children during the Civil Rights Movement. Those who led the children’s march, and braved fire hoses and police dogs. Some of them went to jail, kids as young as eight years old. They stood up for our freedom. I don’t want that legacy to be erased.”