Friday, as I sat in Lee Hall, the only feeling that could describe how I felt was overwhelmed. I was sitting in the presence of legends, history makers and people that I respected.
Elaine Brown and Bobby Seale were a part of an organization that proved that not only could black people organize and work toward a common goal, but we could do so non-violently and still bring about change. Black people were so powerful that America had no choice but to respect us.
We were armed, informed and had a plan of action in place. We understood that change took time and was something that wouldn’t be accomplished with one sit-in, protest or catchy slogan.
So what happened?
We are so disconnected from our past that the actions of the Panthers, Malcolm and Angela seem like mere fairy tales and not the hard work and strength of those who struggled before us.
But I guess some black people feel we’ve made it, times were harder then than they are now, and there’s nothing left to fight for. But there is.
There’s the death of Martin Lee Anderson. No arrests have been made in his death and no charges have been filed. Like SGA President Phillip Agnew said at the panel discussion, “Justice delayed is justice denied. Once again Gov. Bush has lied.” Yet the black community waits patiently as if justice in this matter will come about on its own.
Personally, I think it’s that we’ve become comfortable with the “just okay” things in life and grown accustomed to mediocrity. We don’t dare to dream anymore, and we have definitely lost our will to fight. The only things we fight for now are net checks and parking spaces. And as far as dreams go, how many people can say they have one? Many of us have not thought past graduation and our cute little corporate job.
Imagine how powerful we would be if we pooled our resources and actually worked together. There wouldn’t be any piece of legislation we wanted passed that couldn’t be passed or any mayor, governor or president that couldn’t be elected if we collectively decided to vote. If we did, the issues surrounding the death of brother Anderson wouldn’t exist because we would have a governor that was elected by us and working for us.Imagine how powerful we could be if we built, invested and worked together to make each other and the black community wealthy.
We’ve got to stop limiting ourselves and stop using slavery as a crutch.
Yes, the things that happened during slavery still affect us but if we’re not doing anything to better ourselves and are comfortable with the slavery excuse, then we deserve to not have anything and to not prosper.
Nothing is free. Even freedom isn’t free. Everything comes at a cost.
So ask yourself, “What am I willing to pay?”
Amber Vaughan is a senior public relations student from Pensacola. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.