Sit-ins, Marches & Movements

29 10 2009

When I think of the African adage “It Takes a Village”, it takes me back to memories of all the Sit-ins, Marches & Movements of the 60’s.   It makes me think of how we all banded together during those Sit-ins, Marches & Movements to bring attention to our unequal treatment.  Had we ALL not banded together at that time, imagine where Black folks would be today.   If we did nothing to fight for our rights, it would have meant that we were accepting the status quo of the way we lived as well as all the injustice and inequity that existed here in the United States.

By us coming together as a village during the Sit-ins, Marches & Movements it not only helped us to fight for our rights but it also began to form a positive image of the black community.  Our village came together as a people to find ways to put an end to the segregation that was apparent in this country. Thus, the Sit-ins and Marches of the Civil Rights Movement helped blacks to regain our strength a as people and for the country to uphold that every man is created equal and thus retain justice and equality. 

So if we take this concept into modern day, how might Sit-ins, Marches & Movements impact our village TODAY?  Sure we may have more access to opportunity but so many of our youth today, are dealing with a whole different shackle then those that came before them.  In the 60’s the fight was about access to jobs, homes, income, education, etc…. Today’s issues are all together different.  At the present time, our youth are falling by the wayside in dramatic proportions.  Many of them have no vision for the future, are dropping out of school, and suffering from teenage pregnancy, gang violence, and/or drug sales and/or abuse.  If you don’t believe me, look at these statitics;

  •  According to a 2007 released report by the Census Bureau, more Blacks and Latinos currently reside in a jail cell than in a college dormitory room.
  •  Only 65% of African American youth graduate from high school (Essence Magazine)
  •  According to research conducted by Pew Public Safety Performance Project “One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008”, 1 in every 279 Black women is incarcerated compared with 1 in every 1,064 white women and one in every 658 Latinos.
  •  Only 13% of girls think it is very easy to achieve their aspirations and become the kind of person they want to be when they grow up. (Jet Magazine, May 2009)
  • 26% of high school girls worry about being pressured to have sex.  (Jet Magazine, May 2009)
  •  African American girls are more likely than girls of other racial groups to commit nonviolent offences like shoplifting. (Offices of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, November 2000).
  •  The rate at which African American girls were detained was three times greater than the rate for Caucasian girls (Offices of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, November 2000).

Why are increasing numbers of African American girls at risk for juvenile detention and other at risk factors?  No single factor can be held responsible.  However research conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) shows that delinquent Black girls are likely to have been exposed to failing schools, drug and alcohol abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse in their families and/or community.  Need I go on, or do you get my point?

Think about how powerful it would be if we all banded together to overcome these modern day shackles. After all, our youth ARE our future and what legagcy will be left if we do not help them now?

For me, growing up in South Central Los Angeles was not a road block because I had a village around me that held me accountable and called me out when I was wrong.  However, today this village is barely speaking out when our kids don’t have textbooks in our schools, let alone anything else.  Now I don’t mean to get on a soap box but I see this all over the country as I travel to work with our chapters of Imani Phi Christ.  Our young people need us like never before.  Our community is crying out for us to hear their cry.  We must….

“Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Until all are taught.” – Mark Victor Hansen

This week the question to ponder is this, how can you be of service to the next generation that is coming up after you?  In what ways can we each carry the torch of ancestors who were a part of the Sit-ins, Marches & Movements. Those that came before us and all that they went through so that  we can each have hope and opportunity.  Is their labor now in vain?  How can you extend your hand to the village that needs you now? 

 “Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing.” ~Quincy Jones

 “When you help someone up a hill, you find yourself closer to the top.”  ~ Brownie Wise




One response

30 10 2009
JC Conrad-Ellis

So true. It’s been on my mind that I should be mentoring an at risk girl. I know I’m mothering/mentoring my two girls, but your words really spoke to me that I need to make time to mentor someone who needs it. Is there a way for me to serve as a mentor at your Imani chapter in Milwaukee? If not, I have a soror/contact at a school in Midtown that could use mentors.

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