Author: Brennan E. Wells;
Jessie Jackson once told a boisterous audience as he stood at the lectern to, “keep hope alive”. This was Jackson’s message to the masses as he strove to become the first African-American President of the United States. Of course, as we all well know, Jackson did not succeed in his political venture, yet his words ring true today. These words ring true because Colin Kaepernick, along with Ben Stiller, Chaka Bars and many others have raised $1.2 million dollars to deliver food and water to Somalians who are dying of starvation in their homeland.
Your run of the mill athlete and entertainer may give away movie tickets to a popular movie or stand to affirm a social justice like maxim with a microphone in hand in front of the public. Do not be mistaken at such veiled attempts at social activism. Rather look to those who are pierced by the arrows of criticisms and judgments, because of their stances on the issues. Look to Chance the Rapper who has donated $1 million dollars to Chicago public schools. While local, state, and federal government officials turn a blind eye to hurt and pain, whether, by the lack of will or indifference, there are still those who challenge the status quo.
I for one believe that a nation should practice all that is asserts to others. Currently with no Secretary of Agriculture and domestic agencies and programs taking cuts from the “Defense Only” budget proposed by the President who will stand between famine and Somalia’s citizens? With the Illinois state legislature in a heated budget battle that has lasted more than a year, who will help educate the children of the state? Those willing to make a difference more often than not rise to the occasion and answer the challenge. Yet the problems that we face were not created by a small minority of American citizens. We all bear the responsibility to amend the errors this country has made.
There are moments such as the ones created by Kaepernick and Chance where we are allowed the chance to ask ourselves and our communities, what are we doing? No really, what are we doing with our lives to help those in need? The options are limitless on what we can do because the need is vast. So I ask again, what are we doing to better the lives of those in need?
I am from a place called, “The Souf”. I was once under the belief that though my community was in need of assistance, surely there are those who are in greater need, hence my attention could and maybe should be focused elsewhere. I was wrong. “The Souf” as it is affectionately called by its residents is riddled with poverty and inequality. I say that to say, we do not have to look far to help another in need. The trends that face the American south can be felt across the nation. So despite our regional biases and loyalties, we are all in this together, together in nation building.
Abraham Lincoln once commented that a domestic collapse would be the undoing of the United States, not a foreign enemy. I cannot help but agree based on the evidence and data and the choices we choose to make in the face of such realities.
Will you make a difference in the lives of someone else? Chance and Kaepernick have answered yes. How many more yeses can this country and the international community count on? At this moment in time I am not sure, but I will keep hope alive!