At the outset of the Civil Rights Movement, we indulged in plenty of rap. How many of you remember? Everywhere you went you would be greeted by, “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud!” or “My brother or my sister” or “Black is beautiful.” We spoke phrases of Swahili, thanked God for Africa the Motherland. We dressed in what we perceived to be garments made in the Motherland, do you remember? There were those who wore bones in their noses, adopted African hairstyles, Black-study programs sprang up across the nation. Black playwrights, poets, authors, yes we had it going on.
An individual in Homewood portrayed Blackness to the extent that a White foundation gave his organization a tremendous grant. However, the alleged brother to our regret was masquerading…he left his Black wife and five children for a White woman on his arm and left Pittsburgh.
There came a period of time that we began to understand that the rap provided us with a good feeling, but if we were going to move off dead center WE NEEDED TO DEVELOP A MAP.
In 2017, history is repeating itself. Our schools are still struggling, Black unemployment rates are staggering, Black incarceration rates are staggering, and limited affordable housing is an ongoing problem. We continue to call meeting after meeting, but the problems continue to exist. I have attended several meetings in recent weeks and it was a throwback to the ‘60s. There are too many persons who dominate the meetings with their rap. We must develop a map that is inclusive to helping those we have elected. An example is schools alone cannot continue to be portrayed as the total solutions to the problems that affect our children. We must help restore the family structure, namely by helping the unemployment crisis. Those who were elected to the state House must not have the Governor’s ear, because in a recent news release the Governor stated he wasn’t aware that Pennsylvania’s affirmative action program was totally ineffective. Instead of focusing on gunshot detectors, we must focus on gunshot prevention.
There are those of us who never used drugs…Let us focus on attempting to tell our life stories of how we said NO, were not criticized for it, and our friends and associates didn’t indulge in it, either. There were and are many good citizens who were recreational users. In my lifetime, persons from almost all aspects indulged in drugs—politicians, police, preachers, attorneys, teachers, churchgoers, non-churchgoers, steelworkers, construction workers, etc. They may have something to add when it comes to influence or discouraging persons, particularly young persons, from ever indulging. I heard a politician state he didn’t want to be portrayed as the voters’ spokesperson, but that’s what we elect them for!
Our major problem is that the voters must come together and develop a MAP. Yes, a MAP that those we’ve elected can lay on the desk of their respected political party and state, “This is what my voters are demanding.”
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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