I love my people with every ounce of who I am. This love is what inspired me to pack up my nice, comfortable life in a small southern town and transplant myself to the Big Apple. But not just any part of the Big Apple, I had to be close to my people. Reconnect with our stories and history of where Black Life blossomed.
Today I find myself in the heart of Harlem, nine months later and still trying to make sense of it. Undegrad was a blur, but I managed to get a B.A. in psych and soc. I knew I wanted to contribute to my people’s history and share our stories, and once I realized my comfy college experience had not equipped me for these duties I embarked on a new journey, graduate school. And after a year in my program I’m still lost. I’ve spent this past year engaging great black minds and reviewing political and economic issues concerning the black community.
After one of many debates over the idea of a black community, I started feeling very inadequate and lost. How was a theoretical debate over the idea of a black community helping change the reality of young black children facing an insufficient education system and little prospects of a promising future? I know many people will oppose the idea that theory is not important, which is not what I’m suggesting. My hope is to engage theory more often, and always be conscious of how my work contributes to the world around me. But how do I do this?
Reading accounts from such movers and shakers such as Assata Shakur and Ella Baker makes me thirsty. What do I have to offer my community? I find myself looking for a blueprint, but these women didn’t have a blue print. They followed their calling and risked their lives to fight injustice and discrimination. Maybe I’m playing it too safe, I need to take more risks. Sometimes I think my education will open the door and prepare me with the skills I need to be a revolutionary. Either way it goes, this thinking and pondering isn’t doing anything to make shit happen. The more time I waste contemplating the revolution and my role in it, the less time I invest making the impossible possible.
I just wish there was a manual with instructions for revolutionary action. What organizations do I join? What role should I play? Someone should compile a list of organizations working in the black community, that would be a start. But isn’t that just like a generation x’er to seek the easy way out? I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to my generation. I don’t feel we show a collective concern for the well being of those around us, it’s all selfish and greed driven. Rarely do my peers show a concern for improving the state of affairs in the black community. If it doesn’t interfere with their money flow or infringe on them, it’s not a valid issue. I maybe romanticizing that great era when everyone was in the street “fighting the power.” But I just feel my generation is apathetic and doesn’t seem interested in “lifting as we climb.”
Maybe it’s because the generation before us dropped the buck, and we need someone to veer us on the path of community uplifting. The people who paved the way for us, who made this opportunity possible didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do. They took life by the horns and made shit happen. So as a part of my journey and personal development I vow to make shit happen. To stand up in the face of oppression and discrimination and declare that we won’t take it anymore! It’s going to take time but I know I will find a way to positively contribute to the revolution. One step at a time.