What will freedom look like when we free our minds? What will it look like when we stop thinking, moving, and hating like them?
This is a strange time that we find ourselves in. After two years of holding our breath hoping for a cure or for the virus to simply disappear, we are in a peculiar place. I feel hopeless as I watch our black youth languish. There are so many jobs going unfilled, and that would be okay if our youth were electing to further their education. But I see so many young people smoking their lives away, not going to school or working. So many are slipping through the system headed for incarceration, poverty, and/or an early death. How can we save the young people that were meant to fulfil the promise of a well-lived life? A life lived free…free from racism, self-hatred, colorism, limitations, fear, lack…
In the 1960s and 70s the youth were the hope for a better future for all of us. The Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice, and songs like, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud, were played often. The lyrics soaked into my skin making me proud to be black, making me believe that I was young and gifted. What songs do our youth hear now? Where is there beacon of hope? What are we collectively telling the youth of today?
There are many young black people that have themselves together, but I’m speaking on the ones that society has cast aside. We cannot afford to let them be consigned to a life that will continue the generational curses that was birth in the institution of slavery. To do so will only harm us all.
I wish we could establish free cultural centers where our youth are required to attend on Saturday mornings to learn our history. All of our history, which includes African history. The history of the slave trade and Africa’s participation in it.
We need to free our minds of all the things that racism planted. We need to know all the valuable things that we contributed to the world. We need to let them know that they came from greatness and that they are valuable. We need to let the youth know that we expect more from them because they are the legacy. Our ancestors survived so that we could be free, so giving up on life cannot be an option.
Although I may feel hopeless at times I’m never without hope. We are a strong people, and we have survived horrific things. If we studied our history, we would see that since emancipation this country has had its knee on our necks trying to end our lives. We as a people cannot participate in the ending of our own lives. Knowledge is indeed power.