The goal of these blog posts is to provide information that gets the reader to think about their own story and perhaps provide some food for thought along the way. June is a wonderful time of year, but it has been tinged with sadness for me for the last 34 years and the sadness continues because of the current events happening in our country. On June 2,1996, my sister died and the next day June 3, 1996, my father died.
On June 23, 1986, my mother died. This is a part of my story, the trauma that my family must deal with over their loss but also the joy we experienced because they existed. This June is the season of protests. We are reliving the continuous results of police brutality against the African American community which in the age of video cameras is less able to be hidden. The murder of George Floyd, who died after 8 minutes and 46 seconds where his neck was compressed by the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis, has raised a level of consciousness that has not been seen in recent years. People who did not feel or understand the extent of racism in this country, watched a man die while pleading for his life and are now woke. People who continuously feel the extent of racism in this country are not willing to chalk this death up to business as usual but have vowed this time to make change happen. So. I am looking for a miracle in the name of George Floyd.
One way to make change is to go back and look at what you are doing to secure your legacy in the world. There are many ways to leave a legacy. One is to ensure that you transmit your values not only to your children but your grandchildren. My daughter bought me a book in which I can write down information to leave to my new granddaughter. You can show support for what you believe in either by active protest, volunteering, donating, etc. Another is to provide financial support so that others coming behind you, will not have to struggle so hard including your own family.
In this blog, I am advocating that each person reading this evaluate where you spend your money. One way to protest injustice is to change our dependency on the systems we find unjust. Where do you spend your money? Is it to support community businesses, African American owned businesses, other businesses owned by people of color, women owned businesses, businesses that give ex-offenders a chance or support the differently abled or LGBTQ+ community or does your money support the corporations who as Michael Jackson said, “Don’t care about us”. You might spend a little more, but you will do a greater good. Do we save our money so that when something like COVID 19 happens, we are not dependent upon the system that we are fighting against but can survive if the system does not come to our rescue? Changing political institutions also means controlling what we do with our money. One of the reasons that the walls of apartheid fell in South African is because companies around the world were pushed to disinvest in South African companies. If we control where we spend our money, we can push the system to make substantive change. The Black Panthers gave us an example of taking care of the community through the free breakfast program for children which served as an example for such current feeding programs for children.
Grow your own food. Even if you harvest one tomato, it is one less product that you buy from a store that we do not own. Generational wealth is not built by keeping up with the latest fashion but by being prudent with our resources. What institutions can we build and control? Again, we must begin to pool our resources so that we can challenge the systems we are protesting. Resources, are time, resources are talent, resources are treasure so unite to support what we believe in. Corporations and social institutions right now are saying the right things, but this will not continue if they think we will let them go back to business as usual. We must be the change.