Friday, August 27, 2010

Untitled…


This one goes out to my mentee, who graduated from high school and starts college this week. 

Long time readers know the saga of my mentor-mentee relationship…and I promise to post more about it this weekend. 

Pride doesn’t even begin to sum up what I feel…go on, sister girl! 

Pause.

Step up on my thinker box.

Begin.

I do not “own” the Civil Rights Movement.

Ownership is too basic a term.

I own my car…I live the movement.

Everything I am…everything I will be and can be…was fought for and earned through the blood, sweat and tears of regular folks who set aside fear and kept their eyes on the prize.

And when I say everything I mean everything…that’s not debatable – some shit is just fact.

The Civil Rights Movement is my inheritance and I defend and perserve it through action and activism, along with words.

When simple minded attention seeking fools attempt to turn American history into a third rate theatrical spectacle, my response is to demonstrate through the example of my life what the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement is.

Tomorrow August 28th, in honor of the anniversary of the I Have a Dream Speech, I will be volunteering at a shelter for homeless pregnant teens in St. Louis city.

Tomorrow…August 28th…47 years after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke his dream into history…I will volunteer with homeless vets at another local shelter.

Tomorrow…remembering how thousands gathered 47 years ago to promote peace, equality and empowerment…I will honor the movement by doing anti-poverty work, by taking books to a domestic violence shelter, by signing up for a Habitat for Humanity build, by dropping off clothing to a shelter...by calling up my Aunts and Uncle and telling them THANK YOU for their struggle, courage and strength.

I do not have to reclaim what is mine…every second of every minute of every day I live a life made possible by the social activism of those who came before me.

Tomorrow isn’t about a reclamation…it’s a realization that anti-poverty work, reproductive justice work, anti-war activism and pro-labor work is not and should not be relegated to a few pages in a history book until poverty, restrictions on reproductive health care, war and injustice toward workers are history.

Tomorrow is about consciously remembering sacrifice and rededicating myself to the movement…

…and may those who try to distract from that or redefine that be damned.

I, who inherited this legacy, shall not be moved.

Breathe in…and then release.

Step down…

…and get about the business of social justice work.

8 comments:

hnybfly said...

ABB, I am often in the St.Louis area for work and each time I get there, I tell myself that if I ever saw that Afro pass me on the street, that I would be sure to let you know how much I appreciate your posts. Like you, I don't have to reclaim what my grandparents and my parents endured for me.

P.S. Can I mention that there is going to be a special corner in Hell for (sly)Fox News stars - and I use that term loosely...

dinthebeast said...

I don't do much activism any more because I don't walk very well, can't drive, and require help just getting around when I leave home. But I do have the video of Dr. King's speech on the hard drive in this machine (which is hooked up to my PA system)... So perhaps if I turn it up a little it may remind the good folks here in Dogtown what day it is. It's not much, but it is more than nothing.

-Doug in Oakland

R.O. López said...

These are some beautiful thoughts. I found your webpage by surfing around and have been touched by your energy and perseverance. I hope that you can understand, at least, that those of us who are pro-life feel the same you feel about your cause, only about ours. We are on opposing sides but pro-life people can simply never stop seeing the unborn as people who deserve to live. No argument will ever get us to see eye to eye. I hope one day to be able to write a reflection, like the one you've written above, about the glorious achievements of the pro-life people who came before us, and all their sacrifices. But the pro-life side has been losing for 40 years, and I doubt I'll see the abolition of abortion in my lifetime.

Peace.

ROL

Royal Ranch said...

It is always easier and more rewarding to learn (and really SEE) and put yourself in the shoes of one who walks the walk and not just talks the talk. Sounds like you will have the day of a lifetime.
Peace.

Shark-fu said...

R.O. López...
Isn't it interesting how anti-choice and pro-choice sides both think they are losing?

As an activist I only know that we all lose when "winning" becomes more important than empowering people to make healthy decisions about their lives.

Today I'll visit with 10 women...5 of them are survivors of rape, 2 are leaving domestic violence situations and 3 were kicked out of their home when they announced they were pregnant.

All of these women are under the age of 20...all of them have unique situations...and all of them are outstanding examples of what the born can do despite the hurdles our so-called pro-family society tosses in front of them.

I stand for the born...for those who deserve better from a society that treats them like trash because they've already left the womb.

And I could care less if I lose...as long as they win.

Blessed be...

Okey said...

You are an inspiration and awesome!

Thank you!

Gawyn

Okey said...

You are awesome and an inspiration.

Thank you.
Gawyn

Anonymous said...

I think people who feel some imagined threat have the right to assemble just like any others. The problem with Beck's shenanigans is that they are all hype. He could have held this rally on any day of the year at any place but he specifically chose this date and this place as if it would strike from the record anything MLK JR did. MLK Jr. was dealing with real, not imagined problems. He was for rights for everyone. He cause was truly of a higher calling. There is no higher calling in Beck's rant fest.

These "professional americans" aren't fighting for things to truly be better in this country. They see enemies around corners who aren't there. They make up problems that only exist in theory and they lay the blame at the feet of those who actually try to solve the problems.

I would have no problem with Beck if anything he said was actually based in reality but it is not. All the fear, troubles, and problems exist in his, and his follower's minds.

The sky is falling but not for the reasons they imagine. Years of not truly doing what is right for the society as a whole is what has gotten us here. You can not serve two gods. It is either the special interest god or the social god. Government has chosen to serve business at the expense of the body politic. Check the history books and you will see that never this strategy worked forever in any society.

Our only goal should be to live for a higher cause and to help those in need, to educate all who want it, to offer opportunities, to break down obstacles, to stand together, to trust each other and to work for the good of the whole. We have instead learned to compete forcefully, to kill, to scape goat, to keep people out, and to live at a base level.

Evolve or die out. Those are our choices.

Peace