A Look At Racial Justice Work: An Essay
Racial justice in these days in time takes education, commitment, patience, and an ability to galvanize the masses towards a specific goal or platform that enables us to achieve justice or equity. Without this in place, we have no future in accomplishing — for the long haul — wins our ancestors could not gain.
Education, at least in my case, helps push me forward in the fight for racial justice. Had I not borrowed a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley from one of my good friends during my senior year of high school, I would not be as learned and as ferocious as I am when it comes to fighting for racial justice. Reading that book and realizing how Malcolm X, better known as El Hajj Malik El Shabazz was treated, helped me understand the overall challenge and struggle we Black people have experienced during his time.
His analyzation and observation of this country and his experiences with the criminal justice system provided me with the education I needed. It also pushed me to read similar books and study similar leaders and figures who were just as challenged and threatened in their times.
If we are going to be effective in this work we do, we need to be informed and educated. The information we are taking in provides us with historical knowledge and foundations of what previous martyrs and leaders went through. We learn from them how they persevered or how dirty this system has been. We learn from them also who the system has been agains and why. All of this information through autobiographies, documentaries, and personal essays gives us all we need when it comes to preparing ourselves for the long road ahead for racial equity and justice.
Commitment is definitely key. How are we going to be effective or gain if we are not committed to the work? I have seen people get burned out in racial justice or environmental justice work but it was their commitment that got them involved. They eventually return to the work, the people who get burned out, so the commitment is always there. We have a choice to remain committed or not, but there is too much at stake to abandon the commitment. There are too many issues in the way of freedom and peace for we Black people and other People of Color. Countless communities are counting on us, locally, nationally, and globally.
Patience — something I very thankful to have — is also an element that is needed in this activist work. We know by example, such as the Civil Rights Movement, that it takes patience for us to get to a point where we feel achieved or we have made it to the top of the mountain when it comes to a policy or law. The Civil Rights Movement would not have gotten as far as it had had it not been for patience. They had to work with politicians in order for their work to be accomplished and achieved. We know how long it takes when it comes to politicians and policymakers.
However, Dr. King and others pushed and pushed. You can push and still have patience. If you do not push then oftentimes it will take a lot longer for you to achieve what you set out to do. I will admit, my patience is running thin with a lot of what politicians are not signing into law or how they are not protecting People of Color. I will let that be shown through the work I am doing.
Besides the Black Lives Matter Movement, the last piece of this is hard. Establishing a platform where everyone is on one page and in concert regarding racial justice work is not easy. It takes a lot of momentum, a slogan, and hard, hard work. If communities and leaders cannot come together to formulate such a plan, then everyone is working here or working there which divides us and slows the work down.
The effort is not as strong when we are divided or separated. A platform where everyone’s voices can be heard and everyone understands we have an equal stake in what is hurting our communities is the ultimate platform. You must center Black people and People of Color in these movements towards racial justice though — especially when we are the ones who are most harmed by racial violence and terrorism.
Digitizing movements for racial justice is where it is at right now. A strong social media movement and presence is where a lot of people are building platforms to combat racial injustice. Two of my favorite are Color of Change and PushBlack. These two movements are very clear and powerful in the work they are doing or are spotlighting the injustices we learn about on a daily basis. Yes, some of us will march and protest but it takes a strong online platform to make sure everyone is learning about what is going on or have other ways to get involved. Imagine had Dr. King, Harriet Tubman, or El Hajj Malik El Shabazz had online platforms!
Know that this fight takes a lot out of us. Know that however you approach it, it takes a lot of thought, energy, outreach, and organizing. It is not over by any means and we will keep fighting and fighting. This world is not fair to we Black people and People of Color. We need all of the soldiers we can get in this war against our lives and our peace of mind.