"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 "--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all
These aforementioned words speak so many volumes to me being a proud American citizen and a proud African-American man. I have to say that I am beyond proud to be an American, I love the United States of America, I love the people of this great land, the land of the people of all nations and races; this is the land of those who inspire and aspire to not only dream but do the impossible. The United States is just that, united. Land where my fathers died, land where my ancestors sacrificed their lives, identities and even their freedom to strive to live and be the American dream. This land is truly made for you and me.
On January 18, 2016 The world gathered to honor a man that has truly marched to the beat of his own drum. Dr. King's life and legacy is true to the essence of showing the world that the United States of America can be the place where everyone can be equal and free; where justice is for all; where this country remain true to its purpose, being United.
As much as I love my country I cannot deny the reality that I am an African-American man and that my color is seen before my character, my intellect. I carry within me the blood of legends who fought, sacrificed died in the name of Freedom and the promise of the American morals, values and principles. It's sad that I have to admit that no matter how I appear (whether in formal, business-casual, casual and even street attire) I will be seen as a statistic waiting to happen in the eyes of those who still see me as a threat yet inferior.
But, in essence of all of this, I have a problem and I am sure that many of my fellow Americans can see this; how in 2016 are we still showing and displaying contradictory acts and principles before the entire world to see? I would have never thought that with my own eyes I would see racial injustices be nationally televised and no action takes place to resolve these issues that are deeply affecting the American values and principles of liberty, freedom and justice. If you don't believe me, look at the year 2014; where 2 African-American men were slayed down by law enforcement officials; one of which was seen clear as day from a footage from a cell phone and no indictment charges were presented to either of them. So much for "justice for all." We don't even need to repeat what occurred in 2015, from Sandra Bland, to Tamir Rice to countless others who were slain by the abuse of power that law enforcement officers used and while they are still walking free, families of those slain have to deal with a pain unimaginable.
We love in a society where the jury is not selected among its peers; where the people are afraid to hold true to the statement "NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW". We live in a society where on the globalized media communications system, African-Americans are still seen and portrayed as vicious, ignorant, ghetto and low-class citizens. Where people like Don Lemon who represent the African-American community downplays their efforts in protests and have a disgust for the communities he covers, where the National Guard and local law enforcement come in full battel gear to keep those communities off the streets from protesting, yet at the same time a white militia can take over federal property (which is treason in its highest form) and not one soldier of the National Guard has been deployed to apprehend them. What hypocrisy is this America?
It truly pains my heart that we live in an American society where for the 2nd consecutive year in a row, the Academy Awards have nominated no African-American nominating actors, actresses, best director and all other important roles that make a great film. We are living in an American society where still in the year 2016, our own citizens whom are supposed to believe in one nation under God, still have women clinching their purses whenever an African-American man walks in an elevator; where, regardless of how one dresses, whether in business or urban attire is still seen as a threat to society when all they are trying to do is live their American Dream.
If Dr. King and his roundtable of justices [Harriet Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm, Ella Baker, W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Richard Allen, Adam Clayton Powell, Marcus Garvey] were to sit and analyze how the United States of America is today, they would be utterly disappointed.
Thomas Jefferson said it best: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We as Americans should take this principle to the highest level and respect, for we should understand the importance of living in a land that provides us so many opportunities that many countries throughout the world do not.
Look at our Congress, why is it that throughout our country's 239-year history, only 9 African-Americans have served as U.S. Senators, 11 Hispanic/Latinos have served as U.S. Senators and 46 Women have served as U.S Senators? I am fully aware of the historical context throughout the times where there have been courageous Americans who were not afraid to show that they deserve an opportunity to represent the people; but in today's society, why must one "wait" for the right opportunity or have that fear that they shouldn't run because they are afraid that the people aren't ready for change or something new?
In 2016, as a proud Patriot of this land, this is not how America should be. The key word in the United States of America is supposed to be United, yet there is more division politically, and economically than I have read in my history books. Is there a solution to this problem, this great contradiction? Yes, there is and its really simple: The American people must understand that time shall change regardless if you want it or not, we live in a land now where a generation of people are not afraid to challenge the status quo and are not afraid to proudly represent who they are and love their country; therefore, it is our obligation to support them.
For those who desire to run for public office and you have the gift and passion to lead and win the hearts and minds of the people, do it! Never be afraid to take on that opportunity when it is presented to you; become that agent of change and hold true to the principles of our great country that we believe in. Communities, I urge you to come together and put away the differences and do your duty to hold our elected officials accountable in ensuring that they uphold their sworn oath, the law and their vision to make your communities a better place. Learn your history, understand your history, and share your history. Always hold on to the principles of this great country called the United States and with those principles establish your own that will coincide with the fundamentals of freedom justice and equality.
Now is the time that we take care of our own communities and be extremely active in the political process that shows our strength as a people, that we remove those who infect our communities by introducing violence by killing, robbing one another; that we invest in businesses that employ and cater to the people within our communities; that we come together to uplift and encourage our children and young adults who are striving forth in their educational or vocational journey, where we assure them that they can be anything they want to be; that we no longer downplay our skin because the globalized media don't accept it, to be proud to be Black and that our lives absolutely matter because you can't say all if one is constantly under attack.
Never be afraid to break down those walls, the glass ceilings and any other obstacle that will stand in your way of pursuing your life, liberty and happiness in the U.S. for this land is truly made for you and me. This is our time to show it. Let freedom ring. The dream is yet to be fulfilled. Let us march on until victory is won.