On the eve of the historic Georgia Congressional Senate runoff election on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, we are re-publishing for your enlightenment and perspective of the event at hand, "Who Speaks for the African American?", originally published on February 24, 2015.
As the legitimate interests and concerns of African Americans continue to take a further back seat on the bus of equality and national importance, I ask the profound and critical question of 2015. Who speaks for the African American? As the voice of every special interest and fringe movement from gay rights to animal rights resonate through the radio air waves, cable news channels, social media, and the halls of Congress; where is the voice of outrage and righteous indignation that speaks to the degenerating condition of the African American?
Who speaks for the African American on the myriad of issues facing our people? Not the President, though he may be black; not the lily white members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; not the invisible (Congressional) Black Caucus, whose members seem just glad to be there; not the handful of, handpicked, professional lobbyists, and black political operatives in Washington, D.C., who should all be fired or retired; and not the geriatric voices of the 60s, who it seems have long out lived their usefulness and dedication to the cause.
Yes, the old guard of yesteryear has lost its luster and indeed its moral compass. The worn out and tired voices of the civil rights struggle have long since become muted by the promise of big money, fame, notoriety, and an apparent lack of focus and priority. It seems the focus shifted decades ago, from the plight and condition of the masses of oppressed black people, to the clamoring for individual personal and political gain. It appears their modus operandi has changed from racism to me-ism. Apparently father time is undefeated not only in athletics, but also in the arena of public consciousness and relevance. It has become increasingly obvious, that even so-called black leaders have a shelf life. Their ineffectiveness and loss of relevance is made manifest and glaringly obvious by their conspicuous absence on every day issues that face our people. Aside from a grandstanding appearance here or there, where they can be found mugging for the camera on national news regarding the latest racist-inspired killing of young black men, they are invisible. It is only when the glare of national news shines brightest, that these groundhogs of yesterday’s struggles emerge from their slumber and provide the only visible or audible proof of their continued existence.
Well, I say to these self-serving and attention-seeking relics of the past, move over and step aside. Thanks for the memories, but it is truly time for the torch of leadership to be passed to a new generation of voices, not muffled by fear, the lure of dirty money, or the successful assimilation into the camps of the oppressor. Our people perish for their lack of knowledge, and a lack of voice. As we continue to lose ground in the battle for equality and justice, during an age of color blindness and post-racial rhetoric, the sacrifices of our ancestors are being dishonored and disrespected.
The sleeping giant which represents 30 million African Americans in this country must be awakened from its decades-old slumber. Wake up Black America! Much ground has been lost and too much time wasted. We have not arrived! A post-racial society is a farcical mirage being propagated by the Empire to give an “illusion of inclusion.” We must not and can ill afford to fall for the okeydokey, rope-a-dope, or any other tricks and traps of the enemy. The very future of generations of African Americans, born and unborn is at stake. We must sound the alarm! Let it ring loud and clear, and rise to a new level of consciousness and activism. We have a long way to go in the continuing fight for equality, and the gains of yesterday are eroding. Our challenge is for a new generation of African American leaders, clergy and politicians to unite on the pressing issues facing our people, lest we further dishonor the sacrifices and the martyred souls of our ancestors. Black lives matter, but only if we value them ourselves. The hard fought gains of those upon whose shoulders we stand are under attack, and in some instances slipping away. Frederick Douglass said it best, “There is no progress without struggle.” The battle must be waged anew and the struggle must continue!
Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at the-truth-teller.com. You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.