This isn’t Baltimore. This is West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. It’s home, and today it’s comfortable.
This is where wealthy and poor people try coexisting with dignity and hope. There’ll always be problems between people. Whether those problems come from a historical nature that one race or another may never get past; we seem to be just “small town” enough to look each other in the eye and say hello or nod in recognition of our similarities. We can see each other’s aspirations to gain the greatness I believe God expects of us.
Here, at a place where racism WAS institutional, progress is made toward the realization of equality among all people. There’s African–American leadership at the city and state levels. Representatives of diverse races represent us in Washington. People of every race want the same things for their children.
We want equality, education and employment. We want freedoms we all should have as specified in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We all want a brilliance of future for our kids and grandchildren exceeding that which we’ve experienced or endured. For some, success is a goal not firmly grasped at times. Occasionally that roadblock is erected by stupidity and ignorance.
Does that mean racism? Yes and no.
Any employer refusing to employ a person simply because of race, creed or color doesn’t deserve success. But any person believes they’re entitled to success because they’re of a particular race, creed or color they should look at their attitude. They should examine their willingness to excel in the foundational elements of education and positive societal influence through affirmative performance as a citizen.
You come to be known for the quality person you are by the actions you perform and the strength of your character you demonstrate in day to day actions.
America‘s been concealed from our young. We no longer exalt our heroes who fought, suffered and died to establish the basis of this nation. We no longer praise and recognize the millions more who laid down their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we now know. Even more young men and women place it on the line today so we don’t suffer the forced indignities of any dogma demanding compliance with cultural and religious philosophies foreign to our natures and in controversy to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
We no longer give thanks for what we’ve been given. We seem to complain about what we haven’t yet received. We demand it rather than step up and earn it as our ancestors did.
In this nation today, criminals are held up for admiration in movies, television, videogames and literature; if it can be called that. The decay of our values is accomplished through the poisoning elements of greed coupled with inconsistent parenting. We have children born and placed in “auto-pilot” mode as they enter school. We have families disjointed and displaced by drives for material success while sacrificing moral direction for our children. We have children birthing children and then allowing those children to be raised up by children in the street having no more experience in life than those they poorly mentor. This threatens their growth and prosperity.
We see the blind leading the visionless toward oblivion for themselves and for all of us as a society. We here the babble of discordant shouting and incoherent screaming of epithets more than we hear the directions given us on how to be better, to live better and to succeed with effort. You don’t succeed simply because you show up and complain. You don’t build by tearing others down.
You have to work for it. You have to invest your “sweat equity”. You have to bend your back and stand as a man or woman to reach the heights you can soar to in time. You can live in the shadow of despair you believe thrust upon you or you can cast a shadow of greatness you’re entitled to work toward and show your children and others accomplishment and victory can be yours, and theirs.
Your success becomes our success and our success can be the beacon lighting the way for our kids and America’s future.
Thanks for listening