Black History month is upon us, and as we prepare for yet another year of defending just how valuable we are to this nation while continuing to give the very best we have within, allow me to shore up my people while educating the unfocused.
Black people are natural born achievers. Parents welcome bright eyed babies after nine months of pregnancy with joy and expectations of being able to accomplish the task of not allowing society to tear apart THIS child of theirs.
Those babies are loved and told they must always give their best. They are given the tools to keep them agile in a society that will soon begin to tear at the fabric of who they are. It starts as early as pre-school, where educators use terms like “unruly” and “abrasive” to describe our babies, who only want to enjoy being little. And so the fight begins. Black families spend an inordinate amount of time fighting for a decent education and finding programs that will repair as society tears. We sit in tears when our children walk through our doors confused and hurt about something an adult said to them. We bandage the wound and send them back to the battlefield for another day until those children become adults.
What the world has failed to recognize is this; as we battle for equal rights and fair treatment under the law, we have found the antidote — EXCELLENCE. We use grit, prayers and, yes, some days we want to rail at the world. But many of us use the heartbreaks to become heroes who thrive beyond self for the greater humanity.
We only have to look around us for examples.
The late Rev. Dr. Leon H Sullivan was a Baptist preacher who saw a dire need for employment in Philadelphia, formulated a plan, and not only did he get people hired, he set up a training center so they would be able to keep those jobs. This great man continues to impact communities around the world long after his death. Imagine if he had become disgusted and gave up instead of seeking solutions.
Kobe Bryant was criticized and picked apart in his very public existence, but in his recent death, we have come to appreciate just how many legions of people he impacted simply by being excellent in his craft. He outworked anyone and never allowed chatter to distract him from his goals. He left quite a legacy about staying the course, no matter what.
Professor Marc Lamont Hill, Chief Public Defender Keir Bradford Grey, and Pan African freedom fighter Dr. Doreen Loury are some of the people within our communities making a difference each and every day. You do not have to be great to be excellent. Take inventory around you, and begin to acknowledge the people who are fighting for justice and equality in ways large and small, from our mommas and poppas, the block captain, the community activist, the judges, news reporters, teachers, tradespeople, and the little ones who are not afraid to be seen and heard.
We are Black excellence 365 days a year!
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