My Resolutions as an Activist Dad

Previously on the Good Men Project

Over the last year, I have been blessed beyond measure. I was married, had my son, purchased a home and a car and started a new job.

At the same time, I have borne witness to unacceptable inequality, structural racism, and state-sanctioned violence.

It is within the context of these widespread social ills and through the lens of black fatherhood that I have put together the following New Year's resolutions.

Continue to speak truth to power

Racism, injustice and inequality have never retreated due to the silence of the masses. As the father of an infant who will be seen as and likely identify as a black male, I believe that it would not only be cowardly -- but also irresponsible -- for me not to use my platform as a writer, my professional caché as an attorney or my strategic abilities as an organizer to continue to shed light on factual points of the day that demonstrate that the rhetoric of "the land of the free," "the successful boot-strapper" and other similar falsisms are flights of fancy.

I will continue to be the canary in the coal mine in hopes that my baby, my godson, nieces and others actually inherit a better world, rather than the same one, repackaged and with a new marketing scheme that boasts the inherent benefits of citizenship while ignoring the plight of some of the longest enduring citizens.

Remain engaged and active. All things are political, and inaction is itself an action.
Nowadays, suffering from a case of the busies, it is easy for me just to want to sit back. There is only so much time in the day and as such, only so many things in which I can involve myself. When I have downtime, when my baby is asleep, all I truly want to do is create music, write, work out or play Xbox.

But here is the thing: Choosing not to involve myself in the relevant issues of the day is a political action. That action may or may not have consequences for my future, my son's future or the futures of others I care about.

Every battle has many fronts; you can lead, you can support from behind the scenes, you can support financially, among many other ways of participating. But if I or you choose to do nothing, we must at the very least do so knowing that doing nothing is in fact doing something.

Remember that an impassioned few is better than a weary mass.

Over the last several weeks, there have been many conversations about whether or not the #blacklivesmatter movement will be one that is sustainable over the long haul, and if the many thousands involved will be able to stoke a fire that will inspire the masses.

All of these are relevant questions. However, as I said above, there is only so much time in the day.

With that in mind, while I will continue to write about relevant issues in an effort to build consensus and help shed light on critical issues, I prefer, and I think I can make the most impact, using my time in the new year to build coalitions with folks who are already awake and aware.

For me, it is more productive to build with a small group of impassioned people working towards solutions than to go down the rabbit hole of attempting to convince masses of people to care.

Move beyond the siren to the solution.

Related to the point above, those of us who engage in this type of work often find ourselves attempting to alert people to the issues of the day. At this point, the best use of my time is to be actually working on solutions rather than simply to be a siren of injustice.

Many of the issues I care about -- the black/white wealth gap, the employment gap, etc. -- have plagued us for generations. These issues are known, even if folks choose to ignore them. As such, in 2015, I would like to dedicate my time to movements that are creating, drafting, debating, and promoting tangible solutions to issues.

But why?

Ultimately these resolutions are small, but I believe that holding to them will have a great impact in my life. In my view, being a great father is inextricably tied to being an activist.

However, taking care of a family also means that I must be more pragmatic and thoughtful about making my activism as effective, efficient, and strategic as possible.

I need to manage my time and make sure I'm throwing strong punches, each and every time.

Teaching my son empathy, hard work, and self-awareness is just as important as teaching him time management and prioritization.

As my son continues to grow and develop in the New Year and in the years to come, I will show him by example why it's important to be aware of and work on things that are bigger than oneself. However, I will also show him that self-care is the most important skill of all.

He can do both well and good, but only if he is very clear on what his visions of well and good are.

These resolutions are my initial steps in the journey to figure that out for myself.