On January 21st African-Americans will watch Barack Hussein Obama be sworn in for a second term as President of the United States of America, a man who acknowledges that he stdid not get there on his own. He is, as we all are, standing on the shoulders of giants.
And what has moved us from slavery to the opportunities we now enjoy has been the constant struggle of committed souls that gave everything they had to bring us here. January is the month Harriet Tubman died, Martin Luther King Jr. was born and others whose names we will never know gave their waking hours to bring possibilities and opportunity into our lives and the question we should always ask is what have we done with their gift to us and how have we carried on their legacy?
My mother-in-law Mrs. Janie Green passed today. Janie was one of the ground-level Brooklyn organizers who carried on that centuries old legacy of struggle and brought a new political power into Bed-Stuy, moving people into action, and it’s the kind of action we need on 2013.
The jobless rate is at depression era levels, the school system is largely broken, hospitals are closing, houses are being foreclosed, children are being taken from their parents and the parents have no one to stand up for them. We need some more Janie Greens in this world. more folks on the ground, making waves and forcing change. We need some troublemaking politicians with an army of voters at their backs. In this election year we need politicians who don’t just want to get elected, but who listen to the people and have the courage to fight for their interests.
This year Brooklynites vote for a new mayor, city council seats, a district attorney, and send a new congressman to Washington to deal with the fiscal cliff, deficit ceiling dramatic comedy debate going on there. A debate that determines how much bread you can put on the table what kind of health care you receive, what hurricane aid is coming and what your retirement will look like.
These will be elections and decisions that are influenced by organizers who give the community the voice to push and pull political leaders, focusing their attention on the problems and needs of the average voter and who remind government agencies that they are the employees of the people and it’s not the other way around.
It was the fighters and the marchers and the organizers who brought us here and we need to replenish those ranks if we are going to continue to move forward.