Message to the Community
Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
It is time that Black leaders begin to make some sacrifices for the things that we know we need and will only get if we are willing to pay the price. I liken the Black community situation to a medical student who wants to become a doctor. A student that does not go to class nor is willing to commit the appropriate hours to their study or fails to not only be ready and prepared to take the test when the test is given, but does not show up. How in the world will they ever become a doctor without making the needed sacrifices that all of the other students must make?
The Black community has been talking about “real” freedom, justice equality. We know that we do not have these now. Yet, as a community we are unwilling to go to class, take the test, and make the appropriate sacrifices needed to make progress on these important issues. Yes, we are at a serious disadvantage with extreme socioeconomic disparities. This is coupled with a climate and culture of American racism that is embedded within each and every system and institution of America. These which oppress Black people daily with no viable or credible defense in sight. The Black race is in real jeopardy.
However, in spite of all of our issues, we can no longer say it is what they are doing to us. Our biggest problem is what we are not doing. What we are not doing is using the very strength that we do have, our numbers. We must stop acting as if abnormal behavior is the norm. If we have given up, this too is abnormal behavior because all life operates from the “survival”perspective. It is abnormal to think the changes we seek and the change we need; will come without working very hard for it, without sacrificing for it. It is abnormal to think our issues will improve all by themselves. These are issues without someone else or some type of infrastructure to combat and defend against our enemies, and those that have interests that are adverse to ours. It is abnormal to think that someone else or some other group will do for us what we must do for ourselves. It is abnormal not to understand, and believe that the responsibility is ours and ours alone.
Unfortunately, too many of us have given up (abnormal) and we are unable to take advantage of our numbers, especially when we are a majority in this city. There is no bigger advantage in a democratic society than having a majority. Yet, we are still unable to prosper – is this not abnormal? Our numbers do not count when our interests are weak, ineffective and unorganized against a well-oiled and well-resource opposition. We must ask ourselves, why haven’t we been able to move the needle especially in markets where we are the majority? In spite of our numbers, and on our watch, the enemy has been able structurally weakened our political asset and now we have an entire generation that see absolutely no benefit in getting involved the political process – we are complicit in our own demise.
Most people believe that when we speak about abnormal behavior, we are talking about those who are on the lower economic ladder. We describe how the music and reality television is promoting some of the worst behavior imaginable, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, our youth are living with a high degree of abnormality, but the most deadly and consequential behavior affecting our community is when our leaders practice abnormal behavior and believe that it is normal.
Why? It is because the leaders that have the capacity, skills, knowledge and understanding of the systems must be corrected. If this group is out of position, then our entire race will be out of position.
In many respects, we have accepted this inferior position as fact, which drives us further and deeper into depression and hopelessness. For many, we believe that our interests are too difficult to organize, and too weak to influence public policy. Therefore we do nothing. We must stop the abnormal behavior. There is only one solution: we must come together. However, we must unify loosely.
Normal behavior dictates that anyone who faces the challenges we face would aggregate a critical mass of people to form a coalition, a movement.
We must build the infrastructure to tackle our issues; we must build something bigger than we must. Our power is in our unity. It is waiting for us but we must seize it – not for ourselves, our organizations, our political party, our religious beliefs, our cronies, our crew, our homeboys or home-girls, or our niggas.
The unity must be for our people and our future and to achieve this we will have to sacrifice, and we will have to stop the abnormal behavior. JOIN THE MOVEMENT.