The Minds of Millennials: What Our Young People Are Thinking
November 9, 2017 by Herbert Daughtry
The House of the Lord Church concluded its 87th National Holy Convocation on a high note in October 2017. One of the most important panels consisted of, among others, two young people. I was so impressed with their presentations that I feel compelled to share them with my readers. What follows is a transcript of the presentation made by Ms. Naima Moore-Turner.
“Self-Care as Activism
“When asked about activism and what it looks like in the present day, there are a lot of answers. They’ll range from traditional organizing strategies, to social media tactics, to supporting ‘minority-owned’ businesses, to self-care. There is no wrong answer because whether you participate in all of these strategies, or only a few of these, the bottom line is that your existence has been – and always will be – a contribution to resistance.
“People of Color (PoC) are no strangers to activism in America. Since the onset of our existence here, we’ve been resisting the racism, oppression, and many faces of violence that the powers that be have imposed upon us. In the times of slavery, activism took many different forms, and some are on display in Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation. One being the black veil, which played into the stereotype for our safety. In the beginning of Birth of a Nation, Nat Turner’s father stole food for his family and had to flee from white men that patrolled the land at night. Their owner and one of these patrolling men stomped by the Turner shack which housed Nat, his mother, grandmother, in search of his father. The grandmother took the lead in acting like she didn’t know what they were talking about. While in the cabin, a can of stolen food rolled from under a plank in their floor, but before the master or patrolman could see it she fell to her knees in an act.
“‘No, master please!’
“An act that spared their lives…and the food. Another form was organizing rebellions in which slaves took up arms to fight for their freedom. America made sure we, Black Americans, were unmotivated to see this film.
“Post-bellum South birthed the largest terrorist organization in the United States, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) – an organization that remains active to this day. This organization worked to terrorize and ultimately commit genocidal acts upon newly freed slaves. In the years following, the KKK worked to protect what they deemed ‘white jobs’ in construction and handy-work by keeping Black people out of the workforce. They were also rounded up for wrongful crimes and sent to prison to fill the need for bodies to continue work on the fields. Building on the narrative of lazy Black people during slavery, to criminals and thugs after the ’emancipation’ is how government justified their actions. An example of this is Mississippi State Penitentiary, more commonly known as the Parchman Farm, which remains active to date.
“White superiority was enforced through local government, for example, Jim Crow laws, that prohibited Black people from fully participating in government, and acts violence, such as lynching, that received full participation from townsmen. Activists of the Civil Rights Movement pushed back against these forms of oppression through many peaceful protests. One tactic was purposefully going to jail to bring national attention to the injustices of the South for political change. Black people continued to be jailed as thugs and criminals through wrongful arrests and ultimately sentenced to prison for time not worthy of their alleged crimes. Other forms were bus boycotts, sit-ins, and marches to name a few. These acts sparked generations to come, and are sought out for motivation.
“The Civil Rights Movement instilled an entire generation by fueling them with the will to fight for freedom, and acknowledging its vital role in survival. It also sparked a consciousness, and in some cases anger, in those whose parents may not have been activists. This birthed the activism of the ‘60s – including but not limited to Garveyism, Pan-Africanism, and the revolutionary Black Panther Party. Media frames this time as ‘violent rebellion’ without taking into consideration the violence to which it is responding to. A continued practice in societies of the victim being the site of blame rather than America taking accountability for its actions. Rather than uplifting activists of the ‘60s, and providing resources to the services they created in our communities, they were and continue to be demonized.
“As result of government, both local and national, labeling Black and brown communities as ghettos, work had to be done to provide adequate resources for survival that were otherwise denied. Churches, community organizations, and political organizations/movements established many services that provide food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care that are all extensions of programs birthed during the Civil Rights Era. Killing off leaders and then attempting to refine their image as means of control, is an example of an oppressive society actively working to subjugate its citizens of color. It’s seen every year for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memorial. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attends to share to commemorate a life they succeeded in ending. It’s absurd and insulting. The government’s corruption of history is still wielding effects of leading people to relearn their story and cleanse themselves of evils internalized.”
… to be continued.