When The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan issues a sacred clarion call for a national and international mobilization for justice, freedom and equality, millions of people across America and throughout the world respond with responsive enthusiasm and energy. Such was the case in response to the minister’s call for the Million Man March (MMM) in Washington, D.C. 20 years ago. I believe that history will be made once again this year on October 10 in Washington, D.C.
Some people are now saying what was really obvious to me before President Barack H. Obama was re-elected to continue leading the United States of America. He is a Black man. He is an African man. As the first African American to be the president, the unprecedented hostility and threats against the president have been in too many instances racially motivated as well as based on partisan politics.
Whenever the president of the United States speaks to a national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), millions of people pay attention. As a former Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP, I listened very carefully to President Barack Obama’s recent historic keynote address to the organization’s 106th annual convention in Philadelphia.
This month marks what would have been the 107th birthday of the late United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Given our long struggle for equal justice in America and the need to continue to press forward to ensure freedom, justice and equality for all, it is important to reflect on the key principles upon which Thurgood Marshall achieved his monumental success.
[caption id="attachment_24880" align="alignleft"]stockvault.net[/caption]Though the keynote address was delivered 163 years ago in Rochester, N.Y. on the significance of the 4th of July celebration in the United States, the roaring eloquence and penetrating clarity of Frederick Douglass’ speech still rings true today. Slavery and its lingering aftermath in America continues to be the albatross around the neck of our democracy that chokes the quality of life for millions of African Americans and others who cry out freedom, justice, equality and prosperity.
[caption id="attachment_24820" align="alignleft"]stockvault.net[/caption]While social change for some may appear to be inevitable, it does not happen by osmosis, and it does not occur without a focused effort led by those who are not restrained by the fears of social transformation. An effective reform of the system of laws, courts, policies and institutions defined as the criminal justice system in the United States of America requires more than a principled public debate.
James Baldwin was a gifted author and freedom fighter who made a big difference with his pen in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality. During the past 12 months, notable academies and international literary organizations have paid tribute to the 90-year birthday observance of Baldwin. I knew James Baldwin as a trusted friend, but more importantly, he was a staunch supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.
One’s worldview or social perspective is mainly informed by a matrix of different socioeconomic and political circumstances. A polling of Black America about the current “recovery” of the economy of the United States would produce a dramatically different set of responses from the polling results of White America That is because the vast economic inequality between Blacks and whites in the U.S. today appears to be escalating.
More than any other first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama continues to stand above those who would attempt to distort her leadership. First Lady Obama’s recent commencement address at the Tuskegee University in Alabama exemplified her courage to speak truth to the world without fear of repercussions.
Hip-hop culture is about transformation. It is more than a global genre of music. Hip-hop is a transcendent cultural phenomena that speaks to the soul, mind, body and spirit of what it means to dare to change the world into a better place. Hip-hop is not just about acquiring funds or “stacking paper.” It is also about giving back. I have personally been a long term advocate for the unbridled intellectual genius and social consciousness of hip-hop.