Someone asked me recently what “stay woke” meant. It wasn’t to ruffle my feathers; it was an honest question. Each ethnic group has there own rally sayings to motive a person or group of people to action. I smiled and proceeded to calmly state what it means to me. When I referenced it to past generations roll call for change, they knew exactly what my definition was defining. Stay woke is not just a black thing, it needs to be an American thing.
This last decade, I’m starting at 2008 as a point of reference, has been both uplifting and a test of strength, courage and challenges. I say this as the majority of Americans came together to support our first African American President, not only for the first four years but his second term as well. As uplifting as it was and should be, that’s history that cannot be rewritten, we’ve got to do better. The constant criticism and harassment against an administration that weathered the most brutal onslaught from a party who refused to recognize and play fair; I commend them for their service to their country and belief that the United States has a lot to offer anyone who visits and those who call it home.
I say this as I watched still watch in great disappointment the chaos going on in our country for the past two years. How one man’s rhetoric and his party has reopened deep wounds and thinks this country will thrive and survive, no matter the cost. I watch as they defend it with a badge of honor. Where is the honor? your dignity? Are you really willing to lose another generation, the next generation of leaders, scientists, everyday people to revert back to a generation and time where minorities and women didn’t have a voice?
I hear and see story after story of young lives lost to physical, sexual abuse, to violence, to drugs. Every time we lose a child to gun violence, and make no mistake, it’s always somebody’s child no matter the age, that is another generation lost. Every child lost to suicide is another generation lost. Every child lost to drug addiction is another generation lost.
I say this as programs designed to uplift our poor, our homeless, our veterans continue to lose funding. Policies being implemented or discontinued making it harder for them to recover and lift themselves out of trying situations. I say this as drug addiction continues to cripple families. Shamelessly tearing apart families that have been here for years, shipping people back to countries that some haven’t even lived in because they were born in the United States. Gun manufactures more interested in making money than helping us to find ways to tackle mental health issues.
I say this as a mother of a young black male whose constantly drilling him “You must be better, do better. Watch your mouth and attitude in public. If you get stopped by the police, listen and do. Don’t talk back. When you walk into a store, if you have a hoodie on pull it away from your face. When you’re out and you feel uncomfortable in a situation, walk away and call us while you’re walking away. You can’t sleep on any of this. Be respectful at all times, even when they are provoking you to do otherwise. Stay woke!”
Our nation is changing. Change is always inevitable but this change, this time isn’t for the best. Too many sacrifices made for all the wrong reasons. We all have the right to be content and happy in our lives, but creating that happiness and peace has to go beyond our front door.
Postscript: These are my opinions. I’m not looking for any responses. On occasion I put on my reporter hat. This is one of those times.