“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28
Throughout 2020, the United States of America witnessed rapid change in every area. Political norms were obliterated through propaganda, lies, and disenfranchising voters. The Corona Virus and Covid-19 created a worldwide panic that finally exposed the fissures and false underpinnings of the United States of America’s worldwide leadership role. At the end of the year, almost 400,000 Americans are dead from the virus, millions have contracted the virus, and the rest of the population is quarantined or sheltering in hopes of hanging on until a vaccine is ready. The country is in economic freefall. Young people took to the streets to decry vicious racism, and a sitting President refused to concede he lost the presidential election.
The government’s failure to protect its black and brown communities and the devastating impact of the virus on those communities ignited a new push for fundamental change and revitalization…that the government finally live up to its founding documents. Crippling poverty despite a rising Stock Market, devastated neighborhoods, Gestapo-like policing, inadequate education, the school-to-prison pipeline stood out in stark contrast to and a rebuke to the gains of past civil rights campaigns. Once vital Civil Rights organizations have become distant from or irrelevant to the communities they serve, newer organizations are created to address today’s multiple crises.
Black Lives MATTER became a rallying cry across the nation as young people took to the streets, the airwaves, and political campaigns to demand change. Black Lives MATTER is a decentralized political and social movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people as well as for various other policy changes considered to be related to black liberation.
When the citizens of Portland, Oregon stood up to brutal federal intervention, that moment clarified that Black Lives MATTER is more than a slogan, more than an organization. Black Lives Matter is an opportunity to re-envision, reinvigorate, and re-invest in the communities. Powerful forces are at work to remake America into an oligarchy: An oligarchy is a power structure under which a small group of elite individuals, families, or corporations control a country. The people who hold power in an oligarchy are called “oligarchs” and relate by characteristics such as wealth, family, nobility, corporate interests, religion, politics, or military power. Oligarchies can control all forms of government, including constitutional democracies.
If we have a chance to reinvent and reinvigorate America into a multi-racial democracy with room for progressive ideas, young and old freedom fighters must come together. We must learn from every social movement of the 20th century. Lean on those who fought for women’s liberation, their right to choose, and the ongoing right for parity in pay. Learn from the LGBTQI community about affirming that love is love. Learn from Native Americans, LatinX, other immigrant communities. Our elders, “old” men and women, plotted and planned campaigns to force major changes in the workplace and seats of power throughout the nation. Unfortunately, there were no succession plans or contingency plans to deal with the backlash to their progress. Instead, we must step up efforts to revitalize teas as well as create strong and vibrant communities with a model of leadership that values our elders and our young leaders.
Only as a unified community we can re-envision and rebuild vibrant, healthy communities and an America that works for all. No one leader can save us. That’s why coalitions are vital to Black Lives MATTER. We must collectively bring our best selves, our impeccable negotiation skills, and our love for vibrant, functioning communities to the table. We must leave our egos at the door, as well as stop the finger-pointing, blaming, and shaming games.
We enter 2021 with renewed expectations that we can repair our government, a vaccine will help to blunt the Coronavirus’s impact and reduce its devastating spread, and that we can rebuild our communities. In meeting these expectations, each of us must be willing to not only envision vital America but come together to remake our small pieces of the world. Dreams plus plans plus willing workers will make us “a shining city on a hill.”
– Joyce A. Brown
Joyce Brown is a motivational speaker and author who uses her creative energy to give voice and meaning to the challenges women face in all walks of life. She grew up in Rockford, Illinois in a household of strong women. She graduated from Bradley University with a B.S. and M.A. Her professional career expanded her reach into Peoria, Illinois; and Battle Creek, Michigan. Joyce obtained a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.
She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served as a direct services worker, executive director, program director for a major foundation, and an entrepreneur. Joyce has experienced many uplifting moments as a professional and as a dedicated parent and strives to bring those events and lessons to life through her characters in contemporary fiction novels she pens.