The other day I received a card in the mail and the handwriting on the envelope looked strangely familiar. However, I did not recognize the return address. When I opened the envelope and read the card it said, “I intend to clear spaces in my life by de-cluttering my work spaces at home and in my office!” Then it hit me. This was a card I had written to myself back in June when I attended a workshop focused on reducing stress in our lives. Next I looked at the pile of papers, books, articles, and sundry other things on my desk. I did not follow through on something I intended to start back in June. We need to finish some stuff!
Finishing some stuff is what we as a people need to do. My identity was forged in the crucible of the modern Civil Rights Movement. There a bold agenda for justice was laid out by incredible leaders…Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, Whitney Young, Rosa Parks, A. Phillip Randolph, Fannie Lou Hamer. Septima Clark and many others. Some of this agenda was accomplished but some of it was stalled by tragic and unexpected deaths. Moments of moving the agenda showed up again with the broad coalition building of Harold Washington, David Dinkins, and Douglas Wilder. But, again those efforts seemed to quickly run their course. We need to finish some stuff!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the people who initiate a bold plan to “hand it off” to those who come behind them. I take great pride in Nelson Mandela taking up Dr. King’s mission. I was ecstatic to see Rep. Sheila Jackson pick up Shirley Chisolm’s mantel. No, the problem occurs when people just drop the work. And, that’s what I think has happened in our current era. We need to finish some stuff!
We have fallen into such a celebrity-driven era where we expect one person to do it all on the strength of his or her personality and charisma. That’s what has happened to President Obama. People were so excited about the possibility of his election and the energy of a broad-based, multi-racial, multi-generational coalition that once he was elected there was a huge sigh of relief and it seemed that we rested on that one accomplishment. We slept on the subsequent mid-term elections and left him without a working majority with which to do his work. We have not taken up the real agenda for change. We need to finish some stuff!
Today our children are languishing in sub-par school systems often taught by people who refuse to believe they are intelligent. Our jails and prisons are over flowing with our men and women who a couple of generations ago would have been organizing, marching, and fighting for change. We are rapidly slipping into poverty and our health indicators are dismal. We are killing each other and being killed by the very people who we pay to “serve and protect” us. We need to finish some stuff!
This little card I received has truly troubled me…actually it’s convinced (and convicted) me to do the work I committed to do. How about you? Do you agree that we need to finish some stuff?
Stay Black & Smart!