This is a column that I wrote for thetruecitizen.com.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "We must become the change we want to see in the world."
We are living in a time when it seems like our country is taking steps backward instead of continuously progressing forward. Yes, we have made a huge amount of progress from where we were. However, there is still a lot more that needs to be done in order for people of color to fully live in freedom. There is no one, clear-cut solution to racism, police brutality, corrupt governmental acts, etc. Nevertheless, there are some things that we as people of color can do that will help resolve these issues.
We can become the change we want to see.
We were given a voice; a voice that has the ability to help create positive change within our communities. It is time for us to stop using our voice to only complain about our country’s current state and instead, start using our voice to do something about it. It is time for us to realize how powerful we are and stand together in order to make a change.
I challenge my generation, specifically, to find ways to get involved within the community and to work together to help end racism and inequality. Get involved with local organizations or churches, and work to educate the rest of the community on these issues as well as what tactics can be used to help resolve them. You can become involved by simply voting.
I want to stress the importance of the statement “every vote counts.”
I often hear young people say that their one vote doesn’t matter and it won’t change anything. Every vote is essential to creating a country where everyone can live freely. During each voting season, make sure you exercise your right to vote not only on the national level, but on the state and local level also. Educate yourselves on each candidate and make the most logical decision when you cast your ballot. We need to put people in office that are going to help the progression of this country, but without enough informed voter participation, this will be much harder to accomplish.
You can also become more involved by using your platform to create change. Whether you are a community leader, a government official or simply a well-known resident of your town, use your position to initiate dialogue about the issues that we are facing and to rally people together in order to devise possible solutions. Whether it is something as small as a social media campaign or as large as a community event, anything that moves us in a positive direction will help the country as a whole.
I encourage all young people who may not know what career you want to explore just yet to consider becoming involved by taking on positions that may not be the most favorable at this point. By this, I mean to take on a role that will allow you to have more of an influence within your community. Help create change in how law enforcement officers police the streets by becoming a police officer yourself. You can help rebuild trust with citizens by ethically doing your job. Help create change in how the government runs this county by becoming a government official who governs with the best interest of the citizens in mind. Help create change in how the media portrays people of color by becoming a reputable journalist who reports the news in a factual and unbiased manner. Help create change in our school system by becoming an educator or a school official that treats all students equally while providing them with the best education.
These are just some of the ways we can all do more within our community, but the list goes on. Our current issues are not going to get solved tomorrow; they may not ever be completely solved. Nevertheless, we all have the power to help our country move forward in a positive way.
We were not given a voice to remain silent.
Check out my previous post "God Matters: My Concern for the Black Community."