October 10, 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. That day, 20 years ago represented new hope for the future of black families, but more specifically our young black men.
My son was among that vast crowd. Today, at 33 he is just recognizing and understanding the importance of being an activist for CHANGE within his own neighborhood, amongst his own peers.
What happened to those who heard the message but felt the task was too much to undertake? Where are the inspired men who left that march brimming with determination to make a change? Where are you, black men?
In the last 20 years as a community, we have lost far more than what we gained in blood and treasure. Paradoxically, there has been a resurgence of community based activism and much of it has been facilitated by our black brothers, just in the last few years. While I feel much of that is due to the rampant murders of unarmed black men by cops, more of the concern is black on black crime. It is important that our men step up to the plate and stay there until our communities are safe havens for our children once again. That should be the norm.
Our young men will never stop requiring mentors who will be with them for the long haul. They will never have enough places to receive tutoring, job readiness and the teaching of basic live skills. There will never be enough safe spaces and havens to keep them safe, engaged and off the street corners.
In Baltimore, we have an organization called 300 Men. It welcomes all to assist, but the marches and corner engagements are men talking to men about creating better communities for our children. This summer’s murderous spike was in part fueled by all those “free” drugs on the street. Hearing the chant “Got that perc” while walking up Eutaw Street (near Lexington Market) was a jarring reminder of how emboldened the street has become.
I checked out the 20th Anniversary Million Man March and am happy to see that as of today, there are 119 locations from which to participate. We have several here in Baltimore, but are also close enough to go by car, train or bus.
The name of this gathering is Justice or Else. While the Justice points were completely valid, to hear the or Else, you will need to attend the march.
Our community needs to get real about the issues at hand. Black males will soon be an endangered species. Endangered because just like the lions and the rhino’s, killing they young, especially before they have children is the surest way to annihilate a species. The species is us.
So what are you willing to do about it? Are you willing to sacrifice anything in order for our next generation to survive? Are you willing to help out in your community? Are you willing to invest in the future of a young man (or young woman) who you are not directly related to? Our ancestors understood the definition of the word Sacrifice. I am going to give you the definition again.
From Merriam Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sacrifice)
the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone
An act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god
A person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice
Ironically, by not willing to admit that our issues need to be resolved by us and for us, the ultimate sacrifice will be our children and grandchildren.
We did not get where we are now to cower in the face of opposition. Now is the time for defiance, to rouse ourselves off our asses and to DO SOMETHING. What will you do, today? What are you willing to sacrifice to ensure that our children don’t just survive, they thrive?
There are excellent groups across the country. Just google “community activists or black community activists” Support and/or join one of the groups trying to build a better space for all of us. In Baltimore the 300 Men organization engages is street talk at least once a month, man on man. It is time for us to be responsible for our own. Wake up and choose action.
300 Men - http://www.300menmarch.com/#!300-north-avenue/cktc
Finally- this song was written for the 20th anniversary of the march. The words are inspiring. Please check it out!
Justice or Else, by Third Root
Michelle D. Smith
Michelle D. Smith is a visionary and spiritual warrior seeking to share awareness with many. She uses words as her sword and the love and grace of God as her shield. She has a spiritual blog in which to enlighten and uplift. She is a soon to be published author and a monthly relationship column on Black Refer.com. The different niches for each allow her to reach a variety of people to amuse, entertain and inspire.
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