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BARACK OBAMA MADE HISTORY…
GRASSROOTS ACTIVISTS SPEAK UP ABOUT THE NEXT STEPS TO REAL CHANGE
DALLAS-While basking in the sunlight of new President-elect Barack Obama’s rise to power, African-Americans have connected to the past, but the real challenge is the next step after history.
Grassroots organizers say that the real changes in African-American perceptions must begin after the initial euphoria of victory wears off.
“Our ancestors are rejoicing as on this day, a son of Africa has made all of us proud,” saidDr. Safisha Nzingha Adeleke Hill, director of education for The Act of Change Inc. in Dallas. “What this means for us, is that we must walk a little taller...and conduct ourselves in the way that speaks of our genius...and intelligence and perhaps not be afraid to approach that young loud sista or that young filthy mouth brotha .and remind them of their greatness. We must go to work in our communities and embrace our heritage”
FIRST STEP- CHANGE CHILDREN FIRST
Hill is calling for a new emphasis on spending more quality time with Black children by teaching, laughing, reading and learning with them without allowing the “tell-lie-vision” (television) to raise them.
“We must read and learn for ourselves about our history, before, during and after the enslavement of our people. Read to our children and expose them to African centered history and culture,” she said. “We got work to do. Our time truly is now and we had best be ready for it and prepare ourselves to get busy, planning our work and working our plan.”
SECOND STEP – STAY FOCUSED AND ACTIVE
Community Activist and organizer Edna Pemberton said she never saw the election of a Black man coming, but she is proud that the election signals real change and new direction for America.
“I was in tears and excited. I believe the country is refreshed,” she said. “This is bigger than Black and White. It’s about all families, people and colors coming together.”
Pemberton said her hope is that new young voters and Black men she witnessed voting for the first time will be a catalyst to more political involvement.
She is a lifelong community activist and worked 20 months on the Obama campaign organizing his campaign in South Dallas.
“Now is the time for African Americans and youth to stay active, engaged, stay involved and connected on the issues and shaping policy at local, state and federal levels,” she said. “We need to step up on a regular basis and make our representative represent us and hear our voices on every issue.”
Pemberton said Obama’s election presents to America the other side of the Black man that White America often ignores and neglects to acknowledge.
According to her, Black men must build on this new image and use it as a positive springboard into other areas of career, work and business.
“We must now step up our leadership, show up and go to work to make our goals and dreams happen,” she said. “Barack Obama has opened up the window and it is now up to us to go through it and take advantage of it.”
THIRD STEP - VIGILANCE
Lee Alcorn, founder of the Coalition for the Advancement of Civil Rights (CACR) said Obama’s election made him reflect on his years of efforts to fight for justice and equality for Black citizens and the community. He added that Obama had what it took to bring people together to work and see the common threads of humanity in all of us.
“He is the right man for right at this moment,” he said. “Barack Obama brought the kind of temperament and intelligence it took to run a campaign in times like these. No one else could have done that right now, but we will watch this closely.”
According to Alcorn, post election news is already spawning stories across Texas of increased gun sales, negative racial graffiti and threats against Blacks living in White neighborhoods and problems on several mainstream and private colleges and universities.
“We have reached a milestone, but there is still a lot of racism in this country,” said Lee Alcorn, founder of the Coalition for the Advancement of Civil Rights (CACR). “This election was a crossroad and something to build on when improving race relations in this country.”
STEP FOUR – THE FUTURE
Former Dallas Councilman and activist Al Lipscomb feels Barack Obama will make a difference and change the political and business landscapes across the country.
“I’m optimistic about the future,” he said. “For the first time in eight years this country can move in the right direction.”
Obama saw the future and rallied young people to stand behind him and they did it successfully.
Lipscomb, who has fought for social equality and civil rights for African-American for years, sees Obama as a good thinker with foresight, demeanor, education and compassion.
“He is smart, cool and knows how to stay on the high road,” he said. “We see him as a man who can bring dollars home and use that money here to help Americans.
Some of those plans he hopes to see from the new White House are plans to bring troops and funds from Iraq and support education and training programs that would focus on employment and training for jobs that keep Black men out of jail and prison.
“There is enough work for another WPA,” Our road, bridges and streets need serious attention.
STEP FIVE – REWRITE LOCAL HISTORY
Hill summed up the future challenge with real words of wisdom for Black youth and every Black father, mother, parent and grandparent.
“We know that soon the history books will change...and the talk of black folks accomplishments will no longer be limited to February with a poster hanging in the hallway of Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman.,” Hill said. “Let us work to teach our young people that they are the chosen ones, Africans, Kings, and Queens...not niggas, fools or dogs...and not bitches and hoes.... “