Dwain Wellington Rattray
Pride Contributing Editor
At the beginning of every New Year, many individuals make resolutions of one form or the other. As we begin 2014, I challenge my people; I challenge you, the reader, to make a resolution steeped in the ancient heritage of African Communities. I challenge us all to use our individual and collective resources and energies to uplift rather than tear down. It is a cheerless truth that as a people, we repeatedly display the “crab in a barrel” mentality. If I’m not at the top, I’m pulling you down to the bottom and climbing on top of your head to get to the top. There is often militant fortitude dedicated to the sole purpose of ensuring that our brother or sister fails – sometimes even to our own detriment. Imagine the magnitude of our strength if that efficiency was used to bolster rather than belittle. Imagine if we changed our perspective. Imagine if we realized that the pie is big enough for us all. Imagine that even if there was only one slice of pie, we shared that one sliver with our brethren.
It is appropriate that this article will be published on January 15, the anniversary of the birth of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of the most prominent and effective Civil Rights leaders of the 20th Century, who stood on a platform of unity, Dr. King had this to say on the subject: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” In all our accomplishments, we are yet to learn this seemingly simple principle of the bundle of sticks being stronger than an individual twig. Again Dr. King: “We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”
Let us make the commitment together, not only for ourselves, but for the next generation. This we resolve: We will teach our peers and heirs the value of cooperation. We will build leaders in our communities. We will denounce every display of negative action and remove it from ourselves. We will actively encourage in any way we can, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. We resolve to fight together rather than fight against.
I long to see my people rise and let loose the potential of our ancestors. I long to see my people fight – fight for your right to BE! Fight issues and not men; fight for freedom with education; fight for the future of our children; fight to build schools rather than fill prisons; fight poverty in neighbourhoods rather than fighting each other; fight the disparities of our justice system; fight for the greatness of a people; fight together.
As you go through this week, this year and the rest of this life, grab hold of this new mindset as you absorb a new word to motivate you. Phalanx: A group of people (usually military personnel) forming a compact body and standing or moving in close formation. Oh that we would become one resolute phalanx! This is my prayer for our people; this we resolve.
Photo credit: Sanjay Photos.