I write this with the hope that as a community we can come together and agree that things must get better. Hopefully, we can stop marching and protesting long enough to come to grips with what is really going on in our surroundings and our children. Please let us take time to consider our place in this land that we call America.
It is true that our ancestors were placed in slavery and subjected to cruelties that have us in angst, but we must take responsibility for what is going on in our communities now.Though our forefathers were treated worse than animals, they still fought for our liberties to read, write and learn. The zeal that they possessed for our generation was endangered daily by the hatred of others who didn’t want our communities to advance.
Now that we have been given the opportunity to succeed like our counterparts, some of us have become lackadaisical about our communities, children and ourselves. We have gotten our degrees and our money and have abandoned our neighborhoods, leaving those less fortunate to fend for themselves. We have gotten our cars and “bling” and have sent our kids to “better” schools with “better” opportunities. We look down upon those that live in public housing and have labeled them hood rats, as we shake our heads at the way they choose to raise their children. We laugh and exhort negative images that depict us as money hungry opportunist that will kill our brother for the almighty dollar. We say we hate white people, but continue to bleach our skin and put blonde in our hair. We scream out “I can’t breathe”, but refuse to share oxygen with people who may not have the same amount of money as we do. We celebrate hate music that repetitively uses the word “nigga”, “bitches” and “hoes”.
We have become a walking oxymoron. We say, “black lives matter” but we refuse to participate in our school systems. We say “black lives matter” but we constantly pollute our communities by leaving trash in our streets and on our sidewalks. We say “black lives matter” but as soon as we get enough money we leave our communities desolate to uphold a community that did not want us not too long ago.
Racism is apart of America, just like apple pie, but we cannot place all of our misfortune on this. Now that we are free to learn, read, and write what are we doing to enrich and better ourselves and our community? What are we implementing in our neighborhoods to ensure that each and every child receives a quality education?
We can no longer be reactive to the loss of our fellow brothers and sisters, because we will stay in the same dysfunction. We must be proactive! We must take responsibility for our neighbors and their children. We must change our thinking from every man for himself to all for one and one for all. We must begin to love who we are and embrace who we can be.
Our communities may not be where we want them to be, but depending and waiting on the government is certainly not going to change anything. We must first be the change. We must first believe that we are worth clean streets and great schools. We must believe that our children are as good as anyone else and that they deserve a better life.
Let us begin to celebrate academic achievement instead of athletic prowess. Let us initiate programs that teach our communities about restoring or developing credit. Let us provide more innovative ways to reach our children so we can instill a love of education within them. Let us not cast aside those that are less educated than we would like them to be; instead let us provide informative programs for parents who may remedial. Let us focus on the character of a person instead of their economic clout or lack thereof. Let us really mean it when we say “black lives matter” and begin to take responsibility for each other.
With love and sincerity,
Helen R. Ladson
* Images found on http://www.google.com