We did it! President Barack Obama was reelected and the people of Cuyahoga county had a lot to do with it, so our work is done right?? Hardly. This election was hard fought and it proved many things about the changing demographics of this country but many things remain the same in the African-American community that one day of civic duty cannot change. It is important that we don’t fall into the same trap that some of us did after 2008, yes the President is back in charge, but he needs all of our help in order to be successful and here are some ways we can help.
STAY ENGAGED IN THE PROCESS
Politics is a dirty, confusing, and frustrating game. It’s easy to throw your hands up and give up hope in the system, however this is what some politicians want you to do. If you take the time to inform yourself on what the issues are and who your Congressman or Congresswoman is then you have the power to call them and lobby them to get what you want done. Remember you have the power of the vote, show up to participate every two years not every four! Congress answers to you! Stay informed and the power will always remain with the people.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR COMMUNITY
It takes a village. Unfortunately we are falling short of this timeless parable. Somewhere along the way we forgot to look out for each other. We stopped paying attention to whats going on in our neighborhoods and with the children in our community. We need to get back to the days where the whole block watched out for our kids, made sure they stayed on the straight and narrow, and if not, one quick phone call to their mom & dad would straighten them out. Kids want to be guided and they can reach extraordinary heights if they’re given the proper chance. It’s cliche but the children are our future and we need to make sure their future is secure.
Let’s do our part to stop the mindless and senseless killings that have been plaguing our neighborhoods for a generation. We cannot be a constant in the political game if our young brothers and sisters are dying way before their time. Let’s do our part to lobby Congress to change the laws that are sending our brothers to prison for long sentences for non violent crimes. African-Americans make up roughly 12% of the population but we make up approximately 75% of the prison population, this is not right and we can change this.
SEIZE THE MOMENT
One thing that cannot be measured by President Barack Obama’s two terms in office is the mental effect it has on our community. Children born since 2007 and many just a couple of years older will only know Barack Obama as President so a black man leading the country will be normal to them. Old stigmas and stereotypes should disappear with this generation. We cannot deny the sense of pride and accomplishment many of us felt on those November nights when the President claimed his victories, this should show and remind all of us that nothing can hold us back in this country. Sure some paths will be closed to us, but we have now reached a point where we can make our own paths. The only thing that can stop us is us!
I ask that we all channel our inner Barack or Michelle. Reach for things we thought weren’t possible, stop staying in relationships that hold us back, support minority owned businesses, and don’t feed into previous misconceptions and stereotypes that have plagued our community for decades. We can do anything in this country as long as we stand together as a community and as a nation….. Yes, we can!
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO OF THE PRESIDENT THANKING HIS STAFF: