What do we believe life is about? Some focus on being healthy. Being healthy involves more than a yearly trip to the doctor. Being healthy involves more than three squares and a cot. Many in our community believe their troubles would be over if they could just win the lottery. Others in the community spend a great deal of time working and just surviving. Being able to survive the hells of North America is certainly a 24 hour, 7 day a week job.
Although when we use the word “surviving,” what are we actually saying? Is surviving just the result of saying, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go,” or is it “working on the chain–gang” or repeatedly whispering “We shall overcome” as we watch mounting violence in the streets and massive electoral corruption?
Life is more than surviving bullets, low paying jobs, vast unemployment, homelessness, domestic abuse, police brutality, and more than existing in the delusion of inclusion, more than being a debt slave. Life at its best is full of miraculous lessons, good health, joy and happiness, wholesome relationships and family unity, and other benefits of true liberation. Life, believe it or not, is meant to be enjoyed.
Going from just survival mode to fighting for liberation allows a person and/or family to concentrate on the important issues: the safety of the home, the empowering education and protection of the children, the freedom to move from place to place, and the overcoming of injustice everywhere.
Unfortunately, many people in the black community, actually in America, do not see the need for liberation. The illusion of freedom is promoted so heavily and so thoroughly that most people blindly believe others who desire to may freely pursue their birthright of liberty and the unencumbered pursuit of happiness. However, in their heart of hearts they really know there is something out of order. What is out of order and the degree to which something is out of order escapes most Americans.
During black history month, we saw specials about slavery, civil rights, the turmoil of the 60s and 70s, and the historical accomplishments of black organizations. These programs were presented as if the struggle for freedom was over, as if our fight for justice, equality, and freedom had been won. One of our modern day fighters for liberation, Mumia Abu Jamal, encourages us all to remember that the struggle for liberation is not over and those who love freedom must not rest. The struggle continues.
Brother Huey’s commitment and strong belief in the righteousness of our struggle must be taught and remembered. His words of the 60’s and 70’s need to be echoed repeatedly since many have fallen asleep or have numbed themselves to the desperate condition facing people of color not only in this land but also all over the world. In reviewing the events surrounding the Katrina atrocities and the ill treatment of our brothers and sisters, one cannot help but wonder where we as a humane and conscious people went wrong.
Recently some of our scholars in talking about the movement-civil rights-human rights-black power said we as a people are at a crossroads not knowing which way to go. The events of the past 6 decades point to not a single road but a super highway with four lanes or more.
- One lane is for slow to moderate speed, and it is generally the lane people use to get off the highway and go onto a ramp leading to another road.
- There is a middle lane to help keep the traffic flowing.
- There is also a passing lane often used by buses and folks in a hurry to get down the road.
- Then, there is the breakdown lane or the shoulder where vehicles pull off the highway unable to move without assistance.
Which lane are you traveling?
Read the conclusion on next page…