This post is in response to the 2018 mid-term elections. Based on the results, citizens need to prepare for the 2020 national election to bring about change for the good of all. During a conversation several weeks ago with a young Florida activist, his phrase “2020 Vision” struck a chord. It’s not just about this current mid-term election; we need to see clearly that the electoral process and social activism itself require constant, ongoing effort.
The question is how to promote, encourage, and maintain citizen involvement and responsibility in the political process. The Jewish culture calls this Tikkun Olam, each person’s responsibility to make community and society better. It certainly cannot be limited to election day. This activist described the vote as simply the means of opening the door to political power. How citizens can effectively advocate and demand policies and services that actually benefit them is the critical concern. The list is long: access to good health care; quality education; safe neighborhoods; decent housing; environmental justice; voting rights of ex-offenders who have served their time; full citizenship for all; decent wages; job training; addressing wealth in-equity; maintenance and repair of infrastructure; and eliminating violence.
The challenge for the MPCPMP is our relevance to this conversation. The Sankofa parable comes to mind. Knowledge of history sharpens our vision of the future. Our mission is to place this nation’s development in a context that highlights patterns, behaviors and practices – both good and bad – that are part of the fabric. For centuries and into the present, many leaders and educators have provided either rose-colored glasses, blinders, or both when describing the past. This Project is a prescription intended to improve our national vision by commemorating ancestors, learning from their experiences, and initiating a process for healing. We mark where the inequality and discrimination began and encourage an inclusive historical narrative so that we can move forward humanely and respectfully.
There is a saying that hindsight is 20-20, but that is not correct. This nation does not address and acknowledge its history accurately, so how can people progress and move into a less divisive and acrimonious future? How can America be great for all who live here if we cannot see what actually makes this nation great as well as understand what has restricted its potential to excellence? It certainly is not the partisan bickering and often ignorant leadership now part of our daily lives. Let’s see clearly, so we can move forward effectively.
Now is the time to prepare for 2020. Let us begin now to dialogue with those running for and in office who want our political support. This is the opportune moment to press for the change we see. Who measures up to your own standards and expectations? Encourage these people to become candidates. And when you put them in office, hold their feet to the fire! Party and even identity affiliation should not compromise ideals. We encourage each and every one to know as much as possible about the past and current affairs in order to seriously identify what is important by category: individual, family, community, county, state, country. Our ancestors did this in each generation. Their survival depended upon establishing priorities, strategies, and cooperation. Whether during the Middle Passage, enslavement, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, or the struggle for Civil Rights, we needed to be alert or as the young people say “woke.” Let’s learn from this history and understand fully that we hold the future in our hands. Move forward. Repair what we can; dismantle what is harmful; and create what is beneficial. Recently, one of our leaders said, “Vote as if your life depends upon it.” The truth is, it does. This Project beseeches you to commit and work towards a 2020 Vision. You may want something different/better now that this election is over.