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Tag: empowering minorities

A square, green, orange, and black background sets off Jeffrey St. Clair’s rectangular design for the fifth day of Kwanzaa. On the left side of St. Clair’s orange rectangle is a square symbol of “Nia,” or Purpose. The words that surround it say, “The seven principles: Nia: Purpose. To restore African-American people to their traditional greatness.”

Empowerment Through Purpose

The fifth day of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa’s fifth principle is purpose, and empowerment through purpose is an important strength that has served the Black community well. Sometimes purpose, a vision of what can and should be, is about all they have had!

Here in the United States today, we continue to re-fight battles that should long ago have been won. Still today, a hundred small and large disadvantages assail African-Americans at every encounter. Continually.

A square, green, orange, and black background sets off Jeffrey St. Clair’s rectangular design for the fifth day of Kwanzaa. On the left side of St. Clair’s orange rectangle is a square symbol of “Nia,” or Purpose. The words that surround it say, “The seven principles: Nia: Purpose. To restore African-American people to their traditional greatness.”
Image by, and courtesy of, Jeffrey St. Clair. See Credits below.

Purpose Empowers Dreams

All Americans stand to gain, if only we can keep working together for the goal of realizing the dream of true equality. It is only when all of us are empowered to reach our full potential that we will truly reach greatness. We move forward without a vision of where we are going. But we first must find a purpose to power our dreams.

This square gray image features a sepia-brown photo of Harriet Tubman in later life, wearing a patterned head-scarf, a dark shawl, and a long dark skirt, with her hands clasped in front of her. The words to her right say, “‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.’ -Harriet Tubman. African American History Month. www.SongsForTeaching.com.”
Courtesy of @Songs4Teaching on X. See Credits below.

Empowerment through Purpose

When our leaders have the integrity to follow their vision of equity and justice for all, the community prospers. Empowerment through purpose builds us up when it is directed toward the common good. Until our country achieves the deepest, truest, most equitable form of what it aspires (and purports) to be, African-American people will not be “restored to their traditional greatness,” and all the rest of us will fall short, too.

But let’s not just put it on the shoulders of our leaders. It’s up to us to motivate them, pay attention to what they do, and hold them accountable. Our leaders are only as good as we demand that they be.

This black square image features a black and white picture of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the right. On the left it says, “‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.’ -Martin Luther King Jr.”
Photo courtesy of Covenant House TO on X. See Credits below.

Let Empowerment through Purpose fuel the Future

The long fight for equity and justice for all, in all aspects of our public lives in a multicultural democracy has not ended. Far from it! Each generation has an obligation to advance on that goal. In the year to come and throughout our lives, let us gain empowerment through purpose to move our communities toward that greater vision.

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Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide. I’m grateful to Songs for Teaching on X (@Songs4Teaching) for the Harriet Tubman quote, and to Covenant House TO on X (@CovenantHouseTO) for the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote.

Peace and Justice and Black and Blue

The events of this month so far have left me feeling torn in pieces.

From Dallas, before the attack. Can we see more of this, please, and less of what came later?

Anyone who reads my blog from time to time will likely have noted that I am interested in, and largely sympathetic toward, law enforcement. Yet another dominant theme for me is social justice Indeed, on July 2nd, I announced that my theme for the quotes and images of this month would focus on diversity as a major strength of my homeland, the United States of America.

I chose it because the ugly rise in open racism that I have seen in recent years troubles me deeply, and I believe the most patriotic thing I can do is oppose that trend. I’m not the only one in my country who feels torn by seemingly competing loyalties, or betrayed by the oversimplifications it’s too easy to fall into.

If I am supportive of the police, am I automatically unsympathetic to the minority communities that have so often been targeted, or oblivious to the seemingly-endless cases of unarmed black men (and boys) killed by police?

If I affirm that the protesters often have an all-too-valid point, am I undermining the authority and values of law enforcement, or denying the value of the rule of law?

No. I want a third way. I want a way where everyone’s intrinsic value is affirmed: where ALL neighborhoods have access to good food, good education, health care, and job opportunities, and where the presence of the police is honestly welcomed.

As President Obama said in Dallas, we must keep our hearts open to our fellow Americans. “With an open heart, we can abandon the overheated rhetoric and the oversimplification that reduces whole categories of our fellow Americans not just [to] opponents, but to enemies.”

I pray he was right when he said, “I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace.” But it won’t happen if we stay back in our bitter, angry corners and refuse to see each other’s humanity. Each one of us has a responsibility to step up: to do all we can to make that vision a reality in our world.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Quartz, for the photo of the protester with the cops. 

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