Monday, October 04, 2010
Who's Gonna Take the Weight: The Aftermath of NWNW
There is no need for me to do the math here. If you are wondering, I am not trying to get more hits on my blog like some of the detractors are doing. Yes, I am mud slinging, but someone on our team has to right?
I want to say that most of the people I kick it with are intellectuals whether they were trained in the halls of academia or on the corners of Any Ghetto USA. While there is nothing wrong with sitting around discussing what needs to be done and there is nothing wrong with a healthy debate, sometimes, we need to put away the theories, concepts, and books and get down to the nitty gritty. We seem to forget that forums, blogs, and articles on the internet are supposed to start the conversations. Once we have those conversations and make the to do lists, we have to leave the comfort of our homes and get on the front lines.
This particular rant I aim at the brothers. While I don't have all the answers and I am far from perfect, we all have to shoulder the blame. I am sure you have been told cause I know I have, but we have been slacking. I wouldn't call it NOT pulling our own weight. It's more like abandonment. We really jetted out on this one.
I remember going to the Million Man March (MMM) in October of 1995. I think that day was one of the most defining moments of my life. While I admit that Louis Farrakhan went way to left field when he spent more two hours talking about Masonic symbols, I recall taking a pledge. Actually it was an oath because we raised our right hands. I know that not all of us brothers were at the MMM. That I do know. However, most of the brothers I knew at the time and later met admitted to watching the entire thing on TV. So I am sure that twice the 2.2 million people that showed up on that chilly fall afternoon listened to the oath (if they made it through Farrakhan's long speech). So in a sense, some of them kind of sort of made a commitment. Maybe I am reaching here, but please bear with me.
We went there and experienced a sense of peace that none of us thought possible. I thought to myself, this is how heaven feels like. It made sense to make an oath. Marches are just rallies. Yet we took an oath to return to our communities and make them better places then they were. As a matter of fact, every Kwanzaa we make that pledge but not everyone celebrates Kwanzaa. So I did just that. I returned to my community learned a few more things and got to work. I haven't looked back since. I returned to the Million Family March (MFM) with my wife and members of my community and realized that we had more work to do. We had more babies and continued to work. Along the way, we worked with other folks who were doing the same thing we were doing. Of course, all of us were intellectuals in one way or another. While we did debate and beef every now and again, we realized that work still needed to get done.
One thing I noticed is that as we got older, fewer and fewer of us got out there to put in work. It makes sense. We have children and have more responsibilities and have less time to volunteer or help out. Meetings are just too long to attend. The rest of us just shoulder the responsibility. My point? Some of you all need to step up. I don't mean doing the usual things like keep your lawn clean, or go to work on time, and vote. I mean like friggin' volunteer. Like play ball with the youngbloods down the street. Like tutor the little girl across the street whose mother is working two jobs. Like reading to the children at the local elementary school. Like volunteering with the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Like visiting the babies in the local juvenile hall. Like teaching your nephew how to swim.
It's those little things that really count. You know volunteering two to three hours out of your week. I mean you are going to spend it on facebook or twitter anyway. EVERYBODY wants to talk about how a village raises a child but no one wants to be part of the village. No one wants to chip in. I can bet all the money in my bank right now (yes all three accounts) that there were people who had no blood relation to any of you who chipped in their free time to help make you a better person in those little ways described above. Yet somehow we assume that this village is just going to magically pop up and we can visit it any time we want.
Reality check, homies, it ain't going down like that.
I often hear people complain about “those” people who seem to exhibit deviant behavior. I hear people complain about how young people aren't the same as their generation. We tend to blame everyone after us not realizing that we were the torchbearers before the subsequent generation got the torch handed to them. It sounds like we quit before the bell even rang.
Before anyone says anything about the white man, I want to point out that I am well aware of our history. There is no need for anyone to quote any leader of any age. I know the deal like Holyfield. However, blaming the white man and pointing out where he did this or that isn't really going to help our children read on the level they need to be reading on. It's not going to educate us on healthy eating habits or getting the proper exercise. So save that white devil nonsense for someone else.
I am sure that people have several solutions but I am not asking for heads to come up with new ideas or studies. Those things have already been done. I am asking folks to do the work where ever and when ever they can. That's the best and easy way to start. You don't need to start a new organization. Get in where you fit in. All of us are not built to be leaders (shocking, I know). All of us are not groomed to write speeches. Then again all the speeches have been written. All of the great orators have gone and passed.
I don't need to tell you that the stakes are high. What I am saying is that if you are on the team, you need to play your position. You need to get on board. There is no time for coulda, woulda, shoulda. If there is a problem, we will fix it as we go along. I look back at our ancestors. Not too many of them had any schooling after emancipation. None of them were welcomed in the cities and towns they toiled in. However, they knew how to create wonderful and vibrant communities. I am not saying it was all perfect. There were issues of course but they made it work without the theories and the debates.
If they can do so much more with so much less why are we doing so much less with so much?
Brothers, let's go to work and yes, the vegetarian pizza is on me.