This is the Movement
As Chicago natives, we often hear national criticism of our city exclaiming, “What’s wrong with Chicago? I never want to go there. Chi-raq is out of control.” And as civilians, we sometimes find ourselves nodding in silent agreement, while internally cringing in embarrassment and despair. This is because we know all too well the personal feeling of helplessness that comes from the fear that at some point we or someone we know will become a victim of the crime and violence that plagues our communities, and it seems there is nothing we can do about it, except wait. Despite our depravity, we wait. Despite the lack of tangible change and improvement, we wait. We wait in faith. We wait in perseverance. We wait in hope that one day political, economical, and social change comes to our city before drugs, crime, and violence completely consumes it and everyone within it.
It has become commonplace that our children fear for their safety while going to school, though we tell them that they need a good education to succeed in life, yet we fail to foster a safe-space for them to learn and discover the fullness of their potential. We tell them not to follow the crowds and to dare to be different, while never providing a practical model or an accessible role-model to guide them along their way. Instead, we opt to allow TV, music, and social media to teach them who they are and who they are to become. Talk slick like Nene Leaks. Buy a big butt like Nicki Minaj. Get get money and girls like Lil' Wayne. Have a temper like Joselyn Hernandez. Do nothing like this person. Sell drugs like that person. And in turn we blame them for their horrible programming.
It is time that we, as regular citizens, care enough about our youth, communities, and our future to actually invest in the places in which we live. As citizens, too often we take from our communities, but rarely give or put anything significant back into them. Yet, we wonder why they are decaying. While there are many other factors that play a profound and direct role in impacting our communities, such as social inequalities, systemic racism, and years of negative reinforcement, it is inaction that has caused us to forget and forsake the power of change and influence that lie dormant within all of us. However, it is now time that we stand up and be counted, not as passive complainers, but as agents of change. Not as one of the fearful, but as champions and instruments of positive influence. Not as victims of the streets, but as tools used to create the healing that we all desire.
This is The Movement. It is the joining together of like minded individuals and organizations that are actively seeking to invoke change within the communities in which we live and serve. It is time that we give back, and there are many ways to do it. By investing our time, money, and other resources we can show the youth that we truly care about their future and will not sit passively on the sidelines viewing them in judgment and ridicule. Instead, we desperately strive to protect their future by promoting change in our political, educational, and economical institutions. This goal is both micro and macro, local and global, personal and unified, as we will strive to saturate our communities with the necessary resources they need, not only to survive, but to thrive.
This is the Movement.