Time For Renewal: Freedom Starts With Me
Profound and heroic leaders, such as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Mary McLeod Bethune, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, among others, changed the reality for Blacks inAmerica. By examining their current state and those of their forefathers, they used the strategies, tools and equipment available to them to enhance life for those too young or incapable of advancing it for themselves. They held strong to the baton, seeking to put it into the hands of skilled and talented individuals who would progress God’s people down the track. Unfortunately, we, the current generation have mishandled the baton and allowed it to fall from our hands.
According to the most recent national statistics, 24 percent of Blacks are impoverished (132 percent higher than whites), the unemployment rate is 10 percent (127 percent higher than whites), the homeownership rate is 48 percent (36 percent lower than whites) and the median income is $30,422 (61 percent lower than whites). The firearms death rate for Blacks is 19.3 percent, 110 percent higher than whites. These statistics stand in stark contrast to what civil rights leaders fought to address. We must take ownership of these issues.
We have failed to become attuned to the significant changes that are taking place in this city, this state, across the country and worldwide. The world is getting smaller, globalization is taking place and we are falling further and further behind. While these conditions seem like gloom and doom, there is hope. The hope lies, not in asking for someone to help us, but in having the will, skill and motivation to acquire appropriate education to make the necessary changes to help ourselves.
It’s time to start a new movement that builds upon the civil rights our forefathers sacrificed their lives to obtain. This is a “movement” that builds on Dr. King’s dreams, furthers Malcolm X’s demands and reinforces Rosa Parks’ determination. Dr. King was assassinated when he started to talk about the Vietnam War and the resources that were being used for that unjust and ill-conceived war. He recognized these funds could have been used to fight “The War on Poverty,” a series of laws and policies that were passed to improve the plight of poor Americans of all races. Dr. King and the movement began to shift from that of civil rights, voting rights and accommodations to Economic Justice.
The citizens of Denver must pledge to renew and continue our legacy. The only difference this time is that the fight is not against another race. This fight is with ourselves. Change is hard, but necessary. Since we now find ourselves in a hole, the best course of action for us to take is to stop digging and create a plan to get out. We must reallocate our limited resources to ensuring that our children and our children’s children are better off than we. We must renew our minds daily, as the Bible says. We must stop majoring on the minor, and define and focus on those things that are important. We must vigorously seek the demanded education, skills and talents that will truly give us liberty. We must acquire scriptural education, financial education and secular education to live and prosper in a global economy. We must carefully navigate and develop self-reliance, self-responsibility and local and global partnerships at the same time. We must provide services and support the provision of these services within our communities.
Luke 14:28-32, in The New International Version, reads, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
In Montbello and throughout Denver, we are planning for our renewal. We intend to change our portion of this great city by establishing partnerships. These partnerships may not always be with those with whom we are accustomed to working, yet they are important. We know that the church is the bedrock of the Black community and therefore we will renew relations within and among our churches. We also intend to renew our youth/educational system, financial services, housing supply, small businesses, workforce, neighborhood safety, culture, health and recreation, and social skills.
It is imperative that we undertake all of these renewal strategies, because building homes in communities that have not been incorporated into its growth and development will only breed the seeds of failure. Thus the baton will continue to fall aimlessly from one hand to the next. Ultimately, the race will be lost and we, the Black community, will continue to find ourselves in despair, despondency and dejection. We can do better, we will do better, but we must plan our way out. We must then work our plan and plan our work.
Are you ready?
Editor’s note: Dr. Rickie C. Keys is the founder and president of Renewal Financial Services, LLC. You can review this and similar information at www.renewalfinancial.com.
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