The Silence of the Masses…

The Silence of the Masses…

Imagine, if you can, walking to your place of employment. Every day. For 381 consecutive days. Rain, hail, sleet or snow. No, this is not an advertisement for a mail carrier position with the postal service. This is so much bigger than that.

Beginning on December 5, 1955, the Black men and women, boys and girls of Montgomery, Alabama set out to make the case that they should be allowed to sit in any seat, front or back, on the buses in their city. They had been preparing for this for some time. As had Ms. Rosa Parks, whom also had been chosen and prepared to refuse to move to the back of the bus only four days earlier.

And of all of the people who made that historic achievement possible, the only name we know of, and hold dear, is that of Ms. Parks. The real power of that movement was made possible by the masses of courageous and unnamed, but not forgotten, warriors.

I would have to believe that many of those who had attended meetings, in private homes and local churches, could not fully comprehend that what they had been planning would actually succeed. The seeds of doubt, fear and loss of income, or worse, life itself, must have kept many of them awake each night as the December 5th date approached.

Who among us today would not have been afraid? Hell, how many of us today are unwilling to sacrifice a few hours of pay to go vote? Even when it is something your employer cannot withhold pay for your participation. How many of us are reluctant in serving as a juror? Yet, we are quick to rail against an unfair verdict handed down by a jury of peers that do not fully resemble your community?

This year, this fear, must be crushed.

We are at a time that will, just like 1955, be recorded today, and remembered tomorrow and beyond, by those who are yet unborn. Will they view us as brave liberators, who were unafraid of the backlash from the media and of our “good jobs?” Will they compare us to those brave souls who never gave in to their fears…in Montgomery, for 381 consecutive days, or we will be remembered for our continued apathy in the face of an amoral police and judicial system that placed no value on the lives of Black men and women?

My heart and soul sings praise, and gives honor, to those who, on December 20, 1956 put their coins in those bus turnstiles and sat down any damn where they pleased. To them, we owe a debt of gratitude. For them we MUST now do our part.

Because of them we must remain silent no more.

Peace.

Rosa Parks seated toward the front of the bus, Montgomery, Alabama, 1956. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Privileged Paralysis

Privileged Paralysis

In this time of trauma and turmoil, both at home and abroad, it is telling how silent and still the majority of Whites are about everything. Whether about the latest revelations of how the trump family and friends co-opted, in 2016, with Russian operatives, to subvert our presidential election, or the latest news where an unarmed and innocent person of color is murdered by a “peace officer”, it is quiet amongst the majority.

As a man of more than 60 years, I am at a loss in my ability to comprehend all of this. For I, like most of us educated in the American school systems, have been indoctrinated from my early years about how great America is. Whether it is in the area of sports, education, and commerce, we were always made to believe that we, the US of A, held the flag high for moral justice. Yet, were not we the same nation that held on to Jim Crow laws long after slavery…because, it was still believed, by those whose skin pigmentation is light, that they were the favored race?

So much is discussed about the privilege that Whites have created in America. Whether it is the opportunities afforded in education, employment or social settings, the fact that they have always known it is there’s to control and gain benefit, gave them a sense of security that is now under attack.

The number of “legal” immigrants that have been welcomed into our nation, from Europe, Vietnam, and other countries ravaged by uncivilized wars, was acceptable as long as Whites remained in the drivers seat. But, over the past 10 years it has been stated that by 2050, Whites will no longer be that majority “race” in America. And that is, it seems, when things began to change.

What we are witnessing is the tipping point in America, where Whites are feeling what everyone else has always felt all along. Uncertainty. Doubt. Fear.

Welcome to the real world that you constructed.

We ask that you now join us in seeing the truth of what is evident to the “new majority.” Speak out against the greed, income inequality, sexism and misogyny. Speak out against brutal policing and an unjust judicial system that refuses to punish racists that hide behind a badge and the “thin blue line.”

The America that you have believed in can be a reality. For all of us. It will require your active participation and the peeling away of your privilege. Like the deer that is paralyzed by the headlights of the oncoming car, it is time to react. Let us hear your voice. Show your support. Demand justice. We either rise or lose it all. One Nation, Under God with Liberty and Justice for ALL.

Peace.

NoThing to Celebrate 4 Me

NoThing To Celebrate 4 Me

As those who still believe that we have something to celebrate, on this Independence Day in the year 2017, I am left to wonder how much longer the people of this Nation can remain asleep. What I have come to realize, as I have become more awakened and aware of the slumber in which I have been subject to, having chased the American Dream of a successful career, a home with the white, picket fence and the multi-vehicle garage, I now see the illusion for what it truly is.

I now seek to converse with others in an effort to gauge this new found clarity, maybe to determine whether or not I am hallucinating or just living in a parallel universe. What we once believed in as Americans is now cause for polarizing discord. We have a lunatic President who has no clue, nor experience, in government nor in building collaborative organizations. Still millions will march in parades, wave flags and marvel at fireworks in a showing of national pride. Bound by tradition. Blinded by rhetoric. While the citizens of the World look at us with disdain and disbelief.

It is likely no accident that students at all levels no longer are required to learn of national or world histories. No longer having debates about civic issues that impact us at the local, state and national level. We are a citizenry that is more informed about the latest free agent moves and contracts of professional basketball players, than we are about the liberties and freedoms, workers rights and wealth disparities that are being unraveled before our very eyes.

So, count me not in those who will feel patriotic on your July 4th holiday. For it has not yet lived up to the credo of the founding fathers: those men who took a stand against the tyranny of the King of England. Yet, offered no less the same oppression upon anyone who was not a white male, with wealth and who owned property. We are witnessing a similar displacement of people, property and promise by today’s ruling elite. To deny this truth would be the greatest indignity to my ancestors.

The only year in my lifetime that compares to this one, would be 1968. A year that saw two national leaders assassinated. A year that saw thug violence committed by the Chicago police department during the Democratic National Convention. A year where we saw Black athletes hoist black-gloved fists into the air, to draw global attention to a society that applauds their athletic exploits but offers nothing else to their people.

So, should you desire to see our nation Become Great, pull up YouTube on any Internet-capable electronic device and take the time to share with your family the speeches of Frederick Douglass, Christopher Hedges and Malcolm X. This struggle is not new. But, it is at a critical time in our history. Leave a legacy that your future heirs will feel proud to uphold. They will salute you and, I pray, a flag that truly represents all.

Peace