(BALTIMORE – April 14, 2017) – Dear God, please bless me with a mere fraction of this woman’s courage.
Repeatedly, this woman sacrificed her own well-being to save a thousand others from the horrors of slavery. Despite white slave catchers on horseback, dogs, black snitches who were more loyal to their whites than to their own, and the threat of being shot – let alone being lynched, Harriet Tubman was the greatest conductor of the Underground Railroad.
From the South all the way north to the Niagara River in Lewiston, New York – just across from the Canadian border, this “Moses of her people” jeopardized herself time and time again to bring hope to a generation of black people.
On one occasion, she even from 700 slaves at one time in South Carolina with the help of the Union Army. Despite the fear and apprehension that some runaway slaves had, Harriet persevered like no other. And if she had it her way, she would have been with John Brown, a white abolitionist, on his famous raid.
Today, brothers and sisters, we are not progressing as we should. We are not taking advantage of educational opportunities like we should. And too many of us are hemmed-up in the US prison system. Of the 7 million inmates in America, blacks dominate the population. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, there are more blacks incarcerated than whites in a nation where white comprise some 64% of the US population. Something is fundamentally wrong with this picture.
We have to do better than this. We, the people of the darker hue, have been successful before. It is nothing new. However, we have to get back to some good ol’ common sense. And we also need love. After all, it all starts in the home.
We have to re-embrace forgiveness, we have to let go of petty bullshit, we have to move beyond the inter-generational curses that plague us, whatever they might be.
I really and truly believe that an awakening is underway. I see a shining sun burning deeply on the horizon. A better day is coming, but it begins with the here and now. Individually, we have to find our purpose and re-gain a solid sense of self. We have to find what it is that God put us here to do.
There is no cavalry coming to save us. We must come together and we must do it for ourselves. This means a return to the basic values of our elders and ancestors. It means using manners and giving respect. It also means getting back to family dinners and family get-togethers.
Surely, with deep prayer and work, we can reclaim ourselves, our households, our community, and ultimately our world. But, it all starts at home.
Mass incarceration, violence, drugs, physical and mental health challenges, underemployment and countless other demons have wreaked enough damage. Now is the time for us to assert ourselves for some constructive change. Despite all of these ills, our faith has overcome worse. Our ancestors showed us that it can be done. Harriet Tubman, the quintessential example of self-empowerment, is a prime example.
So, here’s to a brighter future … because we can do better than this!