I do not expect every black person to be as outspoken about racism and justice as I am. It would be unreasonable to expect everyone to be in the streets, writing, speaking, and otherwise engaging this topic at a high level. However, I hope that we will recognize what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.”
We are living in a time that is unlike anything that my generation has seen. I firmly believe that we are in the middle of the second black Civil Rights movement. We are in an hour of history where future generations will look back at us and and judge whether we did right by them.
They will look at us the same way that we look at our own parents and grandparents. When they read about Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter Movement, they will be doing the math in their brains trying to calculate how old we were when there were marches, hashtags, and crucial elections. They might even have access to our blogs and social media accounts and will have a record of the stances that we took (or didn’t take).
As I think of these things, and as I study the first Civil Rights Movement, I realize that now, more than ever, the black community needs to come together. We are stronger together than we are as individuals.
Unity does not mean uniformity. We need the diversity of opinions and expressions of blackness. At the same time, we need to see ourselves as working toward a common goal.
If we fail to accurately discern and point out the detrimental effects of racism in our society, if we fail to do the work of dismantling white supremacy, we fail not only our progeny but also our ancestors.
We must come together and speak with a unified voice. We must put self-interest aside. Once again, unity does not mean uniformity. We might have different ways of going about this work. Some of us might need to be in the streets. Others might need to speak. Others to write. The majority of us will need to show up and root for everybody black. Whatever we do, let us do it together.
We must pray for, educate, and collect black folks who are preoccupied with upholding white supremacy and white normativity for the sake of getting a few crumbs from the table. We don’t have to be woker-than-thou, but we also can’t be sleep. Some of us may be called to wake up those of our people who are sleep or in the Sunken Place.
Black people who are invested in white supremacy annoy me and I find them counterproductive to the cause of our liberation, yet I realize that I’m fighting for their freedom too. Harriet Tubman encountered many slaves who did not follow her to freedom. Whether they were content or afraid, I do not know. What I do know is that while our existence is better than that of our ancestors, we still have not experienced the fullness of freedom.
Let us fight for a better tomorrow.
So why are you here? Why are you in this work?