A Hope for the New Year

So 2020 is nearly over. It has been a challenging year for me personally as it has been for most Americans. People I know have struggled throughout the year and some have even died. There have been times when it seemed this year kept getting worse and there was no end in sight. But we are here in December, literally days before the beginning of a new year.

When this year started, people were talking about 2020 and relating it to vision. One pastor even reminded us that 20/20 vision is just average vision not exceptional vision, so we have to strive to do better than average. Right now, there are Americans who will settle for average, because they have suffered major setbacks.

Yet, here we are on the verge of a new year, which represents a new hope for all of us. Many are enthused about new political leadership, which will in turn bring new policies.Things are slowly coming back from entertainment to shopping and dining out. We have adjusted to virtual work and school and masks have become a fashion statement as well as an act of social responsibility.

More importantly, what has become evident is our resiliency. Despite pandemics, recessions, and public displays of incompetence, we, collectively, have persevered. This is a fact we have to acknowledge and embrace to boost our hopes even further.

For those of us who are African-American, survival has been the story of our 401-year existence in this part of the world. We have experienced so much cruelty, trauma and hardship for generations that it is not a surprise some of us have thrived in this terrible environment. More importantly, we turned early tragedy into a powerful voice that has resonated throughout the year.

Therefore 2021 has to be more than a year we look forward to with hope. We have to evaluate what we truly accomplished this year and use 2021 as a milestone year to build something better. Getting back to normal or average is not an option for us. 

We have earned a seat at the table of politics but now we have to do so at the table of economics. 2021 has to be the year that we lay the foundation for building wealth in our community. Five dollars of wealth for a white person's $100 cannot be acceptible any more. We have to use our collective political capital to increase our collective economic capital. We will never be truly free until we do.

We cannot have an individualistic, selfish approach to this. Having a select few attaining wealth while millions of African Americans continue to lag behind is not going to improve our unique dynamic. We ascribe to the philosophy that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, but we don't ascribe to the belief that poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere. 2021 needs to be the year that changes.

We have to push for public policy that addresses economic disparity. We have to have benevolent actions that create entrepreneural opportunities for African Americans. We have to increase assests in black-owned banks and endowments at historically black colleges and universities. We have teach the value of entrepreneurship and support as many black-owned businesses as possible.

It will not be easy. However, I believe a group of people who have generation after generation survived the worst mankind has to offer: chattel slavery, Jim Crow laws and Black Codes, lynchings and murderous brutality, can achieve such a lofty goal. All it takes is a commitment along with the faith and hope a new year brings. Here's to a great 2021.


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