Black Americans: Let’s stay woke!

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( Many modern-day Black Americans, including myself, hold in high esteem the work ethic of our ancestors of old and the numerous accomplishments they achieved from it. Black Americans have always uniquely maintained some form of spirituality that has allowed us to stay woke even when our faith could have dissipated due to the inhumane treatment, conditions, and circumstances we endured through the years. Still, despite all of that, we maintained our faith in faith. Our spiritual and cultural wokeness and determination, along with the hand of God being on us and his spirit in us, has allowed us to achieve excellence and the unthinkable on a routine basis when many said it was impossible.

Even with Black Americans being woke since our arrival, I would argue that American society at large is notorious for falling victim to sleeping spells, like the state of Florida is currently experiencing under the leadership of Governor Ron Desantis. Our Black American ancestors showed and taught us how to stay woke and keep moving while other people choose to sleep. Some might contend that our Black American ancestors decided to stay woke physically, psychologically, and spiritually because their physical sleeping conditions were sometimes worse than the hellish environment they had to endure during the day, coupled with a firm belief that better was coming if they kept believing, moving, and working.

Lets Stay Woke - Black Americans.

From our enslavement in 1619, the colonial era, American Revolution, the American civil war, the Emancipation Proclamation, through reconstruction, Jim Crow South, the great migration, Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, and Post Civil Rights movement, Black Americans as a people have maintained to some degree a semi methodical pace of sustained progress, while continuing to be the heartbeat for American society by staying woke.  The stress that comes with being black in America at times, along with stagnation, marginalization, and the staleness of a nation afraid and opposed to change and challenge, can rock even Black America to sleep if we fail to watch, listen, lift our voices, and act when needed.

It has been said that comfort breeds contentment, so we are thankful for our ancestors like Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Shirley Chisholm, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer, Minster. Elijah Muhammad, Kwame Ture, and Mary Church Terrell, to name a few. Our ancestors prided themselves on never being content, always staying woke while urging members of their communities to do the same. We can never allow the voices of leaders and personalities like Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Ted Cruz, Vivek Rameswamy, Tim Scott, Eboni K. Williams, Candance Owens, Kimberly Daniels, Clarence Thomas or Tucker Carlson, all of whom suffer from somniloquy, to have a foothold in how we think or operate as a people, it would be counterproductive to the teachings and examples we have already seen, heard, and learned from.

Since Black Americans are and plan to continue to be the heartbeat of American society, we must continue to follow the lyrics of Curtis Mayfield hit song and keep pushing. We must remember that despite some adverse outcomes, challenges, struggles, strains, obstacles, and positive achievements, we must keep pushing. We must ask ourselves continuously, what have I pushed today that is positive for the upliftment and edification of those in my community? What did I push that was positive last week and this month to ensure you, your family, and your community have maintained the gift of wokeness?

As a people, it is easy to become disenchanted when we realize that around 19% of Black American families have a negative net worth compared to about 8% of White American families. It is easy and logical to understand why Black Americans continue to ask for justice reform when we make up around 13% of the total population but makeup around 32% of the incarcerated population. You can understand why many Black Americans question the American government’s campaign legitimacy and promotion of family in our communities when around 51% of Black children grow up in single-parent homes compared to about 21% of White children. Evangelicals and Catholics across the nation promote fetus rights while having little to no compassion or concern for Black American babies’ wellbeing once they are born. All the previously mentioned facts are enough to make one quit and throw in the towel, but as Rev. Dr. Tellis Chapman says, “Now is not the time to quit.” Despite the difficult road ahead, we must stay woke and keep pushing.

Although Black Americans have the proud distinction of being the heartbeat of American society far too often, we are also the target of American culture. Black communities usually serve as ground zero for alcohol and narcotics promotions, sex industry promotions, environmental pollution, and lack of opportunities, all of which will stop the most vital heartbeat, leading to the loss of wokeness left unmonitored and unchecked. For Black Americans, the time for indifference to staying woke and promoting wokeness has passed. ‘Honey, I’m not going to get in the mess.’ Because if you were born in America with a black face, you were born in the mess.” –  Fannie Lou Hamer.

It is past time for the gender wars, colorism wars, educated vs. non-formally educated, European hairstyles vs. afro-centric hairstyles wars, and suburban vs inner city wars to come to an end. As Black Americans, we are under attack. Those who desire to see wokeness and the soul of the nation die are distorting history, banning books, overturning affirmative action laws, and teaching our children that we benefited from being slaves. At the same time, we continue to attack and devour each other because we see each other as the enemy. “We must learn to live to gather as brothers or perish as fools.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

Amongst our allies, we were once the crown jewel. Now, even amongst friends, we are no longer the most sought-after minority voting base or the most cared-for minority group. Black men and women are being incarnated at alarming rates. Around 18% of black females go missing yearly, accounting only for 7% of the population. Black women die at double the rate of white women during childbirth, and the college graduation rate among White Americans and Black Americans is widening yearly. We have no time to be distracted by trivial issues or the antics of our enemies.

Rev. Tolan Morgan calls for Black American men to be real men, Dr. Wilmer Leon reminds us weekly to take the time to read a book for answers, Dr. Gerg Carr tells us to sit at the feet of our ancestors, Professor Karen Hunter pushes us to have a community, Dr. Martha Simmons pushes us to broaden our perspectives, Rev. Al Sharpton reminds us to keep it real,  Lurie Daniel Favors guides on how to breathe it in an how to let it out, Pastor Roscoe Heath reminds us that we are not each other’s enemy and the black eagle Joe Madison reminds us we all can do something the something we must do as people is to stay woke. The legendary singer Teddy Pendergrass said it best “Wake up everybody, the world won’t get no better if we just let it be.”  Wake up, wake up, and let’s stay woke.

Staff Writer; Jamie Seals

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