A Change Gon’ Come?

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By Robert Lilly | September 1, 2009

Lately there has been lots of talk coming from our local government representatives that this is a new day. However, many people in this community are skeptical and want to see proof that all the talk will be backed up with action. What the people must remember are the words and ways of our great indentured and enslaved ancestors, one of whom was Fredrick Douglas, the giant of a man who stood for Abolition of slavery said, “Power concedes nothing without demand, it never has and it never will.” And Malcolm X, the electrifying orator of the 1960’s said, “Usually when people are sad they do nothing. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry they bring about a change. I can understand the skepticism on the part of the community folk; after all in these trying economic times it seems as if the rich are getting richer and… well, you know the rest! I, for one, can be counted amongst the outsiders, considering I am an x-offender. Therefore, I am moved by the same things the masses are affected by. Poor people, in general, in our society are both perceived and treated similar to the way x-offenders are, as second-class citizens. We are only considered when we make some noise. Hint! It is for that reason that all such people must ban together and form associations, with a grass roots foundation, in order to protect and advocate our own interests. Who are the grass-roots? Grass roots are defined as: society at the local level as distinguished from the centers of political leadership. In essence, they are the people unbridled by political alliances and loyalties. They are people free to express themselves without fear or regard for censure. Haven’t you been listening to the rhetoric from the right? They definitely do not allow threat of censure to curtail their opinions. In reference to the Health Care policy they don’t believe government is the answer. And although I do believe our health care situation as Americans is deplorable with so many millions without coverage, I agree with them that government must be viewed with a bit of cynicism, especially when those who are making decisions for poor people and the communities in which the poor people reside are not residents in those very communities. Further, the only time you even see them in those neighborhoods is when there are cameras. This is commonsense. It is also logical that those who reside where drugs are sold and gangs strike up their graffiti, and water gets turned off because the slum-lord property owner hasn’t paid the bill to the city, that they would be more invested in the issues than those from outside that circle. The trick is to help the people to see that they are not powerless and do not have to remain silent victims of circumstance. Individually, yes, their voice may go unheeded. But collectively, the people can speak with authority and power. Sure, government is relevant to the equation, but without the eyes, ears and hands of the common folk they will be apt to turn and run at the first sight of political controversy or inexpediency. The people don’t have this luxury or impediment. We are without fear of losing office; we are rather more concerned about losing our homes. We don’t want to resist the authority that God has placed over us; we just want to hold them accountable for these promises that they make. To the people: You had better get off of your duff! The time is no longer for armchair warriors. It is time for you to come outside your homes and to meet your neighbors and to learn from them their interests so that you can come to some common terms. It will only be through mutual cooperation and alliances that real change will come to the blighted and depressed sections of our city. Folk don’t want the same ol’ same. People are desirous of real and enduring alterations of the jagged fabric of our neighborhoods. The question is, will we get involved and help to make it happen. Or will we murmur and whisper where no can hear our issues. We can complain all we like but that will not make a difference, especially when so few minorities and poor people in this city vote anyhow. Who is going to fear an unorganized constituency? Who will bend to the will of an undecided people? The answer is: No one. That’s who. Someone is out there who is capable of stepping forward and asserting themselves as a leader in the communities. I want to encourage you to do so. You do not have to wait for anyone to approve your gathering together. The days of chattel slavery are over, those days in which both landless men and women and people of color were the pawns, by force, in the hands of the powerful. It was in those days that our ancestors had to have ol’ massah’s permission to congregate and if he didn’t give it they would secretly meet down by the bayou or the swamp. Many a rebellion was hatched this way. Many a people set free, mostly mentally. I am convinced that change is possible. Like President Barak Husein Obama said, ‘change we can believe in’, unfortunately the problem is the people don’t believe. And it is going to take a lot of miracles to convince them that it is not business as usual.