Rosa Parks. Malcolm X. Dr. King. Jesse Jackson. Mamie Mobley.
Tears shed, blood spilled, injustice fought.
But for what?
All these young black men and women today know these names
Know the battle for the privilege of being comfortable in their own skin.
Lives lost for the ability to walk down the street,
1968, just another date in history books to this generation.
Black youth calling their brother “nigga”
As a term of endearment.
When just 40 years ago it was the reason the fist of power was raised, screaming
To show that this name would not be accepted.
Would not be tolerated.
By those who had respect for themselves as black men and women.
December 1, 1955, just another day in the lives of fighters,
Leaders and protesters to the reality of their time.
There is no appreciation for their hardship.
No reason or rhyme as to why the young people of today can’t understand that
The work of a movement is never done.
That discrimination is the secret poison of this modern world
That Malcolm and Martin and William tried valiantly to cure.
It is time that young black men stop filling more prisons than universities.
It is time that young black women stop collecting babies instead of books.
It is time that our black youth start identifying themselves as reputable citizens
Not thugs and pimps, whores and bitches.
It is time that we start contributing to the path that leaders before us have set.
It is time that we start respecting ourselves as those before us intended us to be respected
It is time that we break this cycle of perpetuating stereotypes.
Not blame the man for failures and lost dreams.
Take control of the legacy.