In his State of the Union address to the nation Tuesday evening, President Obama spoke of the agenda items that would define his second term: an improved economy, universal preschool, tax credits for scientific research and development, increasing the minimum wage, ending the war in Afghanistan and facing the problem of climate change by speeding “the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”
He spoke directly to his various supporting voting blocks, 55% women 72% Hispanic, 90% Gay, but African-Americans, who gave him 95% of their vote, had to read between the lines this is the tide that’s coming and you’d better be getting your boats ready. That means demanding and creating initiatives to reduce joblessness by encouraging entrepreneurship, reduce crime by investing in education and childcare, and reduce gun violence in our cities by dealing with societal causes.
The problem with the debate on gun violence, is that it’s only addressing the easy part, how to control the tool being used to express the rage and despair that comes with poverty, hopelessness, and the particular history of Africans-in-America. If that history and its current manifestations are not faced and specifically addressed, then we will be condemning our children and grandchildren to be left to march and raise their voices to “We Shall Overcome” and that will be a damn shame.
There is no choice but to work forcefully with the initiatives proposed by the President for the slice of the pie that will create jobs and businesses in our communities, that will intensively educate and heal our youth and propel them into the next century armed with critical skills and awareness of where they are in history, how these circumstances came to be, and from that draw the strength to keep them upright and determined in our continuing journey here in the Americas.