By Hakim Hazim
“The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”
If we want to continue to be free from societal and self-inflicted limitations, we must return to our ancestral core psyche that enshrined faith, struggle, resilience and devotion to the cause of empowering our brothers and sisters. Those who survived the Transatlantic trip and gifted this country with their progeny were some of the most amazing people to ever walk the earth. They embraced these traits as their only hope and so should we. To be certain, we as a people have made tremendous strides. But it is curious to me that although our history has been replete with great spiritual fervor and passion, we are beginning to leave this out of our approach. Our most accomplished leader today was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a Gospel-oriented, political approach that implemented civil disobedience to achieve liberation for the masses of Black people. It cost him his life, and he gave it, without flinching. No man is perfect and without flaws, but I believe a flawless God chooses flawed people to carry out His will, if they are simply willing to suffer and struggle in order to fulfill His plan.
Given the current state of affairs, can any person of faith truly say this is God’s current plan for us? The incredible strides we made collectively post WWII to the Civil Rights Era slowed to a crawl only a few years afterward. Economic advancement was unleashed, but rife individualism accompanied this progress. What we need is leadership redux. Redux means to return or review a previous time and to glean from its benefits. We were a less self-centered people at one time. Driven by a great cause, we joined in and supported our leaders. The greatness of black leaders was their willingness to risk everything to move their people forward. History shows us that everything from great military campaigns to business ventures begins with risk tolerance. What separates pretenders from the valiant is risk, plain and simple. When it comes to social reform the same is true. Unfortunately, we don’t have men who will risk everything for their wives and families. We don’t have politicians who will risk their political career for the right thing or the people they represent, anymore. We don’t have godly men who will reject church opinion to comb the streets in search of the stray lamb that has little to offer the congregation. And because of this lack of leadership we can’t offer this generation what previous generations offered us. It is incumbent upon us to give them better.
We need to start fighting now and not concern ourselves with the winds of popular opinion. We must preserve the best aspects of our past and not prop up self-absorbed celebrities as the role models for our young. It’s great that many of our athletes and entertainers are making so much money, but we have to make sure their shine does not eclipse the pillars our fathers who made so much of our progress possible. We must remember those who risked being recaptured again into slavery to help others be free; those who sacrificed their lives to set things right, and those who labor still for the promise of what we can be as a people. Leadership redux is the only answer for our current state of affairs.