Editor’s Note: At Press time we did not know the final results of the 2020 presidential election. But the bottom line is, regardless of who occupies the White House, the struggle for freedom, justice and equality must be intensified and elevated, as Malcom taught, from the level of civil rights to the level of human rights. We have a lot of work to do and some serious issues to resolve. We could start by embracing the amazing faith that “got us over”; fearlesly adopting the noble and visionary doctrine of “do for self” as exposed by the likes of the Hon. Marcus Garvey and the Hon Elijah Muhammad; supporting and maintaining our communities, businesses and institutions; building a future for ourselves and the generations to come. And somehow, most importantly, love and respect one another and our own Black lives, so that we can effectively push back against those who do not believe our lives matter. No more buck dancing.No more shucking and jiving. No more politricks. It’s wake up time! Let’s go! (The following message of hope is excerpted from an essay “Election 2020: Hope Is A Journey, Not A Destination ” by Leah Daughtry which appeared in the on-line edition of the Nov. 2 Essence.)
After the election is over, our work continues: raising our voices, pressing for just policies, and holding our elected officials accountable is the next—and ongoing—phase of our work.
Our journey toward equality and freedom has been long and will surely continue into the future. And as exhausting as that reality may be, it is perhaps to be expected. After all, the eradication of racism, sexism, and classism requires radical change in both hearts and institutional structures. One we can legislate; the other we cannot. Changing policy and institutions, as complex and complicated as that might be, is in many ways simpler and more easily accomplished that changing the hearts and minds of people. There is no sure way, no one antidote to erasing the fear, the anger, and the desperation that drives and nurtures racist and sexist attitudes. This is the harder work.
And yet, despite the towering challenges, we press on. Not because we see victory, but because we believe victory is possible. This is called hope.
This is the hope that drives us, that fuels us, that inspires us, and that encourages us
To start businesses when we know loans are hard to come by. To write books when we do not have a publisher. To love and raise our children even though we know they will face towering obstacles. To vote when we know this system does not always work for us. To build though we are not always sure about our allies or our coalitions. To run the race even though we cannot see the finish line. To get out of bed. To keep going. To keep moving. To keep living.
We still believe. We still hope. And this hope springs not out of possibility, but out of certainty. Not because we can see the good end, but because we believe that this good end exists.
This goes against the grain. We like finish lines, bright yellow tape, balloons, and victory laps. We like crossing things off our task sheet and declaring our to-do list done. But freedom does not work like that. As Mrs. Coretta Scott King taught us: “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.