The fight has been a long and arduous one: Fighting for the right to have the same opportunities and rights to a way of life that assures the security and stability for generations to come. We are talking about the fight that will guarantee the future of all Black Americans.
From the moment our ancestors were herded onto ships, taken from their thriving environments where they were Kings and Queens; taken from the beautiful land that yielded its precious fruit at the tilling of their hands; it has been a treacherous fight for survival and the securing of a future.
Hope remained in the heart of people who seem foreign to many of today’s generation. There was a defying hope that lied within the heart of our ancestors that gave them the strength to strive and fight amongst the harshest of conditions. They never gave up, or gave in to the bleak witness of their surroundings, and the devastation of their reality.
Instead, they forged ahead with a steel resolve to rise above what they were experiencing; reaching toward a future that was uncertain; keeping in their heart the memories of yesterday and the stories of home. They determined to make sure there was a future for everyone that came after them. They were committed.
Here we are: the future. What are we doing to undertake the task of assuring that there is a future—a nurturing, promising and inspiring future—for all Black Americans? Have we’ve dropped the ball? Have we abandoned the hope and the steely determination of our forefathers and mothers to guarantee that we all have the opportunity to live a life that is not hampered or hindered by: devastating poverty, deplorable education, non-existent healthcare, a socioeconomic quagmire, and the highest recidivism rate for both Black men and women in prison?
We can come together and discuss and plan what we are going to do and what can be done to help forge ahead and guarantee a future for all Black Americans; but unless it becomes action, we have not grasped what our ancestors knew from the beginning: you never rest on what was accomplished yesterday. You take charge, get ready for the next day and expect to do something. It is going to take commitment—even when you think nothing is changing.
Our future is in our past. We cannot know where we are going until we understand where we came from. And one of the things we must know about the past is what they did to overcome the injustice, the hatred, the contempt and evil that they faced and the impossible situations. For as it is, there has been a great insurgence of hate and evil that we are facing today, looming under the skirts of fear. And the scenarios paint an alarmingly impossible situation.
We cannot afford to be reactionary in our pursuit to squall the embers of what this nation is facing. Instead, we must become responsive to the kind of ideals and actions that will foster us into a new wave of progress, assuring a future that has the promise of hope and security despite what day to day life is dictating.
Our past is one of fortitude and action, where many ran to the front-line to take on the rights of all individuals; willing to give their lives—as many did—to make sure that we, Black Americans, would have a sense of dignity and security for the lives of our families and communities.
From the beginning, the fight for freedom, equality, an education, the right to vote had been tenacious. It was necessary; just as it is necessary today. We have come far, but still have far to go. Sometimes the lesson that needs to be learned is that, we may not see what we are fighting for, but our children and their children will. We don’t just fight for today; we fight for all the tomorrows.
In the past, we rose up as a unified people, and began to pool our resources together and did what we had to do. We worked together for a common cause. If one person learned to read and write, they made sure to teach the next one, and so one. If one learned a trade, they taught the next one, and so on.
We were far from perfect in our actions, but we did something, and we did it together. We did not sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to do something for us, we made it happen. We come from innovators, educators, inventors, entrepreneurs, pastors, leaders, homemakers, cotton pickers, share croppers, slaves—all trailblazers—who all took action in some way or another and stayed committed.
The future we seem to be facing is not pretty and it is definitely not fair. But it does not have to remain that way. We have the ability and the power within to do something now; do something together; to make the necessary changes and implement the ideas and plans that we have talked about.
Here’s the deal: we can learn valuable lessons from the past. Let the ego’s go. Let the selfish ideals and mentality be obliterated. Stop looking at what someone else is not doing, and start doing something yourself.
We are suffering in so many arenas: healthcare, daycare, education, employment. What can you do today to make a difference? Can you tutor? So you don’t have a degree in Education, but you know a thing or two. Tutor someone. Become a mentor. Need a job? What skills do you have? Perhaps this is your opportunity to start a business. Maybe this is the time for you and a few others in the community to come together and brainstorm.
The future of Black America lies in the hands of individuals and what we are willing to do. We must be selfless, determined, and committed. We must also accept that what we do today, we may not see ourselves, but will be there for the next generations. Do something. It starts with you.