Dec. 26, 2017

Umojians Seek Umoja

“Some whites were willing if not exactly eager to push for civil rights and integration. But national fatigue over racial militancy was setting in. We are all, let us face it, Mississippians. We all fervently wish that the Negro problem did not exist, or that, if it must exist, it could be ignored. Confronted with the howling need for decent schools, jobs, housing, and all the other minimum rights of the American system, we will do our best, in a half-hearted way, to correct old wrongs. The hand may be extended grudgingly and patronizingly, but anyone who rejects that hand rejects his own best interests. For minimum rights are the only one we are willing to guarantee, and above these minimum rights there is and will continue to be a vast area of discrimination and inequity and unfairness, the area in which we claim the most basic right of all—the right to be stupid and prejudiced, the right to make mistakes, the right to be less and worse than we pretend, the right to be[…]”

These words could have just been published in 2017 as they were published in the mid-1960 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.  These words definitely could have been published in 1917, 1927, 1937, 1947 or 1957.  We all must have thought that because of the civil rights movement in the 1960's. We would have overcome the race issue by the 1980's but each decade since the sixties racial hatred, racial ignorance, racial economic disparity continues to cause divisions in this country. Today we celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa, the spirit of Umoja, the energy of Unity. Yet not only are our racial communities divided but divisions within our separate communities continue to cause tension and disruption to any chance of securing unity of people within this nation.  Shouldn't the day have finally in America arrived where people can look past color distinctions, religious distinctions, political distinctions, social and class distinctions, or even economic distinctions?  Umoja shouldn't be a festive celebration just for people of color. Umoja celebrations should have no bearing on class, race, religion, or political leanings. It should simply be a celebration that stretches across the nation, the globe, and reaches each and every home.  Umoja is a life philosophy that should embody everyone's hope for mankind.  

Yet, as we end 2017 just as we have ended every year in this nation, in almost every nation on this planet we continue to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us. Rather than being Mississippians we should all seek to gain the spirit of unity. Let's all become Umojians and find purpose in peace, love, humanity, and ensuring that the lesser of us have risen to the level that eliminates hunger, lack of education, disturbed dreams and shattered hope. I think I rather be a 2018 Umojian than to continue to fester hate and nurture confusion amongst mankind. How about you?