On Tuesday, January 20th, millions of people gathered around their television sets to watch President Barack Obama deliver his State of the Union address to the American people. In a speech that was filled with the possibility of hope for a brighter future in the U.S., you cant help but observe people who despise President Obama not just because of his political ideology or political affiliation but because of his skin color. Needless to say, Im sure you wont get any of President Obamas haters (not all) to publicly admit to such a statement. We would be fooling ourselves to think that racism isn’t prevalent, especially within the halls of Congress. Lets be honest with ourselves for a moment whenever one is able to discern within their own spirit the vicious acts of hatred, dislike, and discontentment people have towards another individual based on their skin color and accomplishments, a major problem exists.
After hearing President Obamas speech, I was reassured of his commitment to ensuring freedom and equality for all persons. If we take away party politics and get to the substance of what he said, all of us are called to be agents for change. You’ll notice that I didn’t use the phrase a change agent because its time for people who care about the welfare of human beings to be an agent for change. That’s right; its going to take those of us who believe that every human being regardless of their race, ethnicity, nationality, and sexual orientation deserves to be treated fairly. While we may have differences of opinion, its important that we never allow those differences to spill over into personal attacks on a persons character. Any intelligent person will tell you that we must stick to the subject.
As we remembered and reflected upon the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 15 (his birthday) and January 19 (the day in which we celebrated it), we must realize that his dream is still alive and well. Even though Dr. King isnt here with us physically, his work is still ongoing. What we cannot do is minimize and compartmentalize Dr. King to just one speech. We must remember how he was involved in change. While it could have been easy for him to simply make speeches, stay within the confines of a church, or accept professorship positions, he used his theological training partnered with his oratory skills and love of people to make a difference.
February is quickly approaching which means Black History Month. Its during this time that we are reminded of our great heroes and sheros who risked their lives for the betterment of this country. Because of their tireless efforts, all of us have benefited from their actions. Unfortunately, there are those in the world who cant and wont embrace change. For them, diversity, fairness, equality, and justice is foreign. Lets face it those who refuse to work for the advancement of all persons to live a life of peace and prosperity are still stuck with divisive and destructive thinking.
Thats why Im asking you, the reader to become an agent for change. How can we do this? Here are a few ways.
1. Consciously strive to embrace people as human beings who are created in the image of God. We are all different, but the common thread we have is that we are humans with the propensity to love and care
2. Actively engage in the political and educational process to ensure that the division of the have and have nots is broken
3. Communicate love through words and actions
4. Push for public policy that will address and fix the sin of injustice
In being an agent for change, you will undoubtedly face opposition. To think otherwise would be huge mistake. However, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi Adversity is the mother of progress. Use your voice (in whatever way) to be an agent for change. Along this journey we are sure to endure disagreements and that’s life, but under no circumstance should we stop striving for change.