Sunday, August 2, 2009
Reclaiming the Dream.
Ironically tonight as I decided to finally sit down and begin this blog, I flipped through my television guide and found "Reclaiming the Dream" hosted by CNN. Firstly, I give CNN props, they have been the leading force in shining some light and giving us media time. If anybody ever takes notice in history, without media - there would be no change. Media aka "propaganda" has always been majorly influential in any major impact. I did jack the title, I really didn't know what to call this blog, but I have been racking my brain all day, as it's a constant feud|struggle with myself.
I am upset with Black America. I am disgusted with Black America. I am ashamed of and fed up with Black America. I have since I was a child surrounded myself around intellectuals. My Papi taught me the lessons that he learned, living in the islands, let me know to always stay humble, work and break down the barrier that was given to me by my name. I have always challenged myself, to do better, and work harder. Where has our community gone. Where are the role models? Lil Wayne and Kobe Bryant versus Barack Obama and Colin Powell. Do you see the difference?
Earlier today, my Aunt and I got into this very in-depth conversation about the Black community in which I am a demographic of. Luckily, I had an Aunt and Uncle who stepped up to the plate. When my Dad walked out, and my Mom let me go, they took me in. I spent my middle school and high school days living in a suburb, being the only black family in my town. But I made the decision, against my parents wishes, to go to the only high school that was located in the inner city. My city has a strong influence of Italians. We are the 3rd largest place for refugees to be placed. But inside the city, as in central located, is the African-American and Latino race. It's a jungle, we call it "Cornhill." That's our hood, and it's vicious. Gun crimes, murders, reckless behavior by the YOUTH is tearing the City a part. And like most cities, police are afraid of the craziness, so they stay away until somebody gets that DOA.
We have a lot of programs in our schools, and we have a lot of organizations outside. Junior Frontiers, Young Scholars Liberty Partnership, the lists go on and on. Anytime there's an issue what we do, just like many other schools and cities of America - We tape on another program as a band-aid. Only leaving it to turn into a scar until the scab is torn back open. There's no real aid being given to treat the problem.
My frustration is with the community. All these programs, organizations, churches, committees - not impacting, improving, or even making an INDENTATION on any of the struggles facing the Black & Latino race. My Aunt and I spoke of a building that's centrally located in Cornhill. It's placed on the busiest street, our "strip", James Street. It's where the barber shops, corner stores, liquor store, beauty salons, bar, parks, all are found in a 6 block strip. This building is currently being rented by a drug rehabilitation program that pays $1 to use it for the ENTIRE year. Why can't some of our Black organizations get this building and use it to make an impact on our youth. The youth that are obviously crying out, dropping out of school and adding to the system. It doesn't make mathematical sense to me to see this community go astray. Where are our shepherds?
Single parents, lack of voice, submission to dictation. These are the issues that we face in every hood, not just Cornhill. I focus on my neighborhood because I know that the person reading this can relate it back to themselves and say "Yeah, that sounds like ___." We lack the drive in the African-American community to fight for ourselves. And when the system won't provide our needs, we settle for what they give us instead of seeing beyond the basics.
"Our problem is not failure, it's low aim." That is what plagues many of our communities. I watched the series presented by CNN, "Black In America." Parts I and II, currently watching "Reclaiming the Dream." - I agree with so many points and factors that people like principal Steve Perry are making, Steve Harvey is on stage, not cracking jokes right now. He's serious business. We need to wake up and take responsibility and make this mission happen.
I write because words should be tools of communication, not substitution for action. We have constantly ignored and just settled. And we have it so twisted in our community. There's this internal battle within ourselves. How many people checked that box for Obama because he was Black, and didn't know the issues? Now we sit back on our couches and complain about not having "CHANGE" but didn't even know his standpoint on the policies in the first place.
We aren't happy with Obama but we voted for him. We make fun of our peers with straight A's but want to go to college. We can hustle up money for that party we can't go fill out applications. We can look "fly" in school but we don't know how to dress to go on interviews. We can shot a basketball but we can't read or write. - Let me not even go on the "Christian" spree. I think ya'll get the point.
Education is key, but we have the highest rates of EVERYTHING in America. Most likely to contract HIV, most likely to drop-out, most likely to become pregnant by the age 16, most likely to end up in jail. Society takes 1 or 2 great Black Americans and put them up on a pedestal, and leave the rest behind. And that's where our community needs to step up and open the door.Come on Black America. Where is our drive? That our grandparents had, that my Aunt and Uncle have. We're so stuck on self, that once we get ours "you better yo's." We need to reconcile ourselves. We need to reconcile our leadership. We need to reconcile our society. Stop being stuck on self.
I mean honestly, I live in lovely house. Myself, my parents, my 2 cousins (to me siblings), we all have vehicles. We all have health insurance. My brother graduated from Clark Atlanta, he has a well paying job in engineering, making programs for Bank of America. Their daughter went to UNC Greensboro, got her major in Sign Language Education. I currently go to a private school in Upstate, NY. Studying Graphic Design with a minor already in Political Science, and working on my Journalism minor.
But my Aunt still teaches in the high school, though she could have retired 2yrs ago because she sees kids being left by the way-side. She takes her students on a field-trip to the prisons, to show them,this is where you don't want to end up. This isn't the life. She takes that initiative. We all need to start picking up the slack; where others can't do, we need to do. Come together and stop pointing the finger and letting it just be. Realize that this has to happen internally, because the system isn't going to do it. The system isn't for the MINORITY.
"When America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia."
Education, Information, Dedication. I'm not sitting up here trying to get people to cheerlead with me. I'm trying to get people to take the initiative to lead. In all honesty? FUCK THE BULLSHIT. I can blog all day, I can spit 100 poems, but if no one is taking that lead to start something and go out into the community and DO - I'm just wasting cyberspace.
But I don't sit idly. I see my generation, worried about their "swag" more than their college education. Worried about scraping up that $10 for that marijuana recreation. I'm not claiming to be all innocent and do-no-wrong. I dip and dab too. But I have my goals, and I know what I want. At least I have some sort of AIM. Stop aiming so low, shoot for the moon, and get the moon. Don't be a star.
The community needs to come together. All communities. We need to be outraged. And we need to step-up and make our own change. Obama can give as much money as possible for college grants and scholarships. But if the 16yr old males are locked up and the 16yr old females are knocked up - What good is it doing? Wake up. Realize. And React. We're losing ourselves, lacking leadership and letting the dream fade out.
PS: I'm taking the initiative to start ANOTHER Cafe, non-profit organization in my neighborhood. To possibly make an impact. I started the "Underground" when I was 15. It didn't go in the path I wanted it to, but it still is a existing place where teenagers can go for different needs, giving information, and mentoring. Oh yeah, I don't just write.
I do. So should you.
The Underground Cafe
↓ Below link to CNN Special
Black In America