In Memory of Trayvon – A Challenge
The pending celebration of “The March on Washington’s 50th Anniversary” reminded me of my relocation to New York City and accompanying my Postal Union to the historic event. During the 60s my anger with and reaction to racism and oppression hurled me onto picket lines and into classes in revolutionary ideologies. Some years later, disillusioned by the inability to move the masses and unify around common goals, I went into semi-seclusion.
In looking for an offensive position (because that’s where the scoring takes place) I say the family is the training camp for revolutionaries. Revolutionaries operate from a spirit of love foremost (not opposition), love of themselves and consequently their people. Three men come to mind immediately – Nelson Mandela, Maurice Bishop and Fidel Castro. There are certainly more including females.
Where does one learn to love or for that matter not to love? Where does one learn to trust or not to trust? Where does one learn acceptance of self? One learns in families – immediate and extended, in school and the community at large.
Living in a capitalistic, materialistic, hypocritical culture, we don’t receive preparation to nurture individuals nor relationships. Surviving racism, sexism, and other isms leave little or no time to create a program for saving the innate gifts of our children and their children. While many forms of actions are in place demanding justice for Trayvon Martin, I trust every grandparent, parent or adult who has a youth in their extended family implement create a family practice, the objective geared towards having the child accept and love him or herself, giving them opportunities to share and recognizing their gifts to the family. Our children need to know from birth that they are valuable. Their value of self can no longer be dependent upon having college degrees; although discovering one’s purpose, choosing studies that prepare for fulfilling that purpose and contributing the skills learned to create a community that works for all is certainly needed. Again recovering our traditionally highest held value of relationships must be recovered for our children’s sake and the future. The question is can we unlearn the lessons we’ve inherited while physically surviving slavery? Can we adults, guardians of our young, restore relationships with others as a primary goal starting with the other parent of your child? Can our children overhear adult conversations composed of positive comments about others rather than derogatory ones? Taking responsibility for the choices we made and make is the beginning.
My criteria for selecting a male (that is when I moved past thinking I should give my telephone number to any man who asked) consisted of assessing his looks, his training, his position and income. I discovered in workshops held that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t realize that the most important issue was being left out; that of values, questions like “Are we headed in the same direction?” “Do we really believe the same things?” “Can we accept each other’s differences? We usually get caught up in the chemistry and wake up two or three children later heading to Family Court. Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu says that we use more care in buying cars than we do in selecting mates. Our choices leave our families lacking when it comes to nurturing. And when these poorly chosen, doomed-to-fail relationships end, we spend the rest of our lives in hostile, bitter struggle, which cripple the offspring emotionally while funding family courts and lawyers that ensure the war continues.
From where will our revolutionaries of love come? They can only come when we rid ourselves of the pettiness, the put-downs, the comparing, the competitiveness, and the gossip – all those traits we’ve inherited from living in this non-nurturing environment. They can only come when we own our choices and be empowered by the lessons learned instead of pointing the finger. They can only come when we take responsibility for our lives.
Warning! This is an adult conversation, one for those who are sick and tired of mediocrity in relationships, education, African American children and adults killing themselves and each other. It’s a conversation for people willing to change themselves in order to change our communities. Parents are invited to share challenges experienced in relationships and how their children won. Remember our goal is to create a world for our children to discover and fulfill their purpose for being on the planet. For information on the 45 Day Challenge or to share your experience email: firstname.lastname@example.org.