I grew up in the Oceanhill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn NY, during the 60’s and 70’s. It was a place that the city classified as a ghetto, but those of us living there called it home. Brownsville was filled with Blacks who struggled from day to day not to live a but to survive living, Many lived in broken down tenement buildings that had no heat or hot water in the winter and nothing but a box window fan to keep them cool in the summer. Apartments in these tenements were infested with mice and roaches, as well as drunks and drug addicts in the hallways. Yet even in these bitter conditions we persevered.
Many turned to religion as a way to deal with their situation; rather it was to attend services at your local storefront church or listening to Rev. Ike on your am radio. Others chose alcohol or drugs to mask the pain of their environment. Yet there were some of us who sought political awareness as a way to overcome. We were born at the end of Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, but we had Rev Jessie Jackson, Rev Herbert Daughtry and Rev Al Sharpton. Unfortunately their leadership can be classified as flawed at best.
Most of us became disillusioned with the world of politics and simply faded away into our everyday lives, we gave up, and we stopped believing. We drifted into a world where we watched our children grow up with no sense of Black history and awareness. We stood by and watched our elders as their eyes grew dull and their spirits darkened. They were facing the end of their lives with the sad realization that things were not going to change in their lifetime.
These were the same people who marched with Dr. King, who stood against the ignorance of the Klan in the south. Who fought for the rights that our children take for granted today. Imagine how proud they would be if they were here to cast a vote this election day. The pride in their eyes, the tears of joy they would cry. Sadly most of them are no longer here that’s why it is up to us. Why your vote in this upcoming election is more than just a vote for Senator Obama, It is a vote for all those who came before us, all those who fought, marched, prayed and died for us to have this chance.
Republicans feel that we will not come out, that we will not vote, that we will settle for more of the same. We must show them how wrong they are. We will vote, we will vote in greater numbers than ever before, and those who came before us can finally see that there dreams have not gone unfulfilled.