Friday, March 30, 2012

VoteOrDie: The Proactive Response to Trayvon Martin's Death

VOTE or DIE. The slogan seemed a bit extreme and even corny when Hip Hop icon Sean “Diddy” Combs coined the slogan in the 2004 presidential race between then President George W. Bush and then president elect-John Kerry, to get 18-24 year olds active and energized in the voting process. But just eight years later following the racially targeted death of Trayvon Martin, that slogan doesn’t seem so extreme or corny anymore. Ghandi said “we must be the change we want to see in the World.” So this election year, we must VOTE or DIE.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black America, You Let Me Down!

We March, We Rally, We Uproar Only to become Silenced Peacekeepers Once Again

Black America, you have once again let me down.

We used to be a people that came together to protest the injustices of America. We marched on Washington, held sit ins, were hosed down by powerful water sprays, even attacked by dogs. We lobbied Congress, we took court cases to the Supreme Court, and we carved a path in our Nation’s history that no one will ever forget. It was a proud time to be Black in America. We each held a sense of pride of who we are and fought against the racial supremacist regime of the Klu Klux Klan. We fought against segregation and Jim Crowe for years. Got that people, YEARS! Now, whenever there is a blatant attack of racism against Black America we rise up for days and then go on about our business until the next atrocity happens. We were not afraid to voice our concerns. In the end our cries for justice were heard and the 14th and 15th Amendments regarding Civil Rights and Black Suffrage were ratified. But in those years following somehow we (as a people) became complacent and silenced by the comforts of American standard luxury. I feel as though the sentiments echoed around the country by many is that we no longer have to fight the good fight because racism isn’t a black and white issue anymore. Racism is on the decline! But on the evening of February 26, 2012 racism in its truest form rose its evil ugly head and reminded me that we still live in a country where racism’s roots are still embedded in this country’s dark past in its purest form is a black and white issue.

Allow me to digress for a moment, I promise it will be short. I walked down to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial this afternoon on March 22, 2012 during my lunch break. As I walked through the entranceway to the statue, I wondered if Dr. King were alive today what message he would give us? What hope would he instill in us? I listened and waited for an answer, but none came. Despite being a larger than life stone beacon of hope to us all, King’s monument seemed like a waste of time and space. I hung my head down and said to myself, will there ever be hope in this great country you were so proud of Dr. King? In that moment it was if time stood completely still. I rose my head and clear as day I saw the words “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.” Now I know this isn’t his exact quote, but in my head I heard him saying those words. And so I rushed back to the office to write this…

Have we forgotten to be drum majors for justice, peace and righteousness? Have we forgotten to stand up before the bandwagon and lead the way to a better more United States of America? We no longer have Dr. King as our drum major, as his legacy is revived in all of us. Instead of one man, we have hundreds of thousands of drum majors with voices who have the power and knowledge to sway the pendulum of racism in this country! That racism will NOT be tolerated and the immediate incarceration and isolation of those who do so will ultimately face a comparable punishment for their crimes. We will do away with the satanic hate groups, the supremacist groups, and strive to form coalitions of all races to promote unity in a country still severely divided by racial lines. How many more black children are we going to have to lose before we stand up and declare a war against racism, AGAIN? Yes, AGAIN! I think I finally understood why Dr. King’s statue was so important to be placed on the Tidal Basin. He represents the changing tide of equality in this country. Ladies and gentlemen, we are STILL fighting racism in this country. EVERYDAY. It may be as subtle as being visibly invisible on a crowded metro train or it may be starring down the barrel of a gun at the hands of psychological gangster. It exists and there is something we can do about it, TOGETHER.

So when will it ever end? When will racism ever be abolished? Probably only when God himself comes down to Earth. But until that day, we can continue to plant seeds of equality and educate ourselves, our children, our community about the dangers of the world we live in, including in our own neighborhoods. We can strengthen programs in our community that promote diversity, harmony, and unity. We can improve upon the structure already in place and create safer neighborhoods for our children, but it takes each of us. Each one of us, with a voice, to stand up for justice and be the drum majors Dr. King would have us to be. According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."

I can only imagine as Dr. King stood before hundreds of thousands standing on these same streets of Washington, DC that I am currently walking on today as I type this in my iphone when he declared “I Have A Dream”

I can only imagine as Dr. King stood before hundreds of thousands standing on these same streets of Washington, DC that I am currently walking on today as I type this in my iphone when he declared “I Have A Dream.” This is just an excerpt from the speech, I have provided the full text version in a link.

"I Have A Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

"But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition...

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds..."

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children...

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...”