Del Williams


When Do We Get a Seat at the Table instead of the Crumbs?

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2014 has gone and is no more. Hallelujah! No really, bye. For me it was a year with the typical ups and downs except for the last quarter of it. It was filled will all kinds of racial unrest. Some of it was warranted, and some of it was just people trying to reinforce the idea that “all” Black people are criminals.

The current racial unrest is really just a continuation of one that started back when some guy decided that Black people should be forced into slavery, their families torn apart, not allowed to learn to read, and whipped or killed for any reason.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma. It happened days before my arrival on the earth. I have never known the inability to vote, or having to go into back doors or eat at separate counters because of what those marchers did in 1965.

However, I feel my generation and those after me, may have taken what people like Martin Luther King, Jr did for granted. We just assumed equality was our human right. So, sometimes when we see the anger on our men’s faces, we don’t get it, or rather we didn't get it.
We didn't get that though the law says you can’t discriminate, that people do so anyway. Educational opportunities, housing, and jobs are not given to us. We may be able to walk in the door and sit at the same counters, but we can’t seem to get a job in them.

Far too often we are still seen as just entertainment. As long as we can play sports, sing, and dance, fine, but how dare we want to be the CEO of a company, or to have the same education in Compton that they have in Beverly Hills. When we want to go to college they appoint a number of us which they will allow entry instead of letting us in on our merit.

My heart asks how long we have to keep eating crumbs from the floor. When will we get the equality and justice the blood of those who died for us scream for? When will the vision of MLK become a reality instead of something that sounds good to quote? When will we get a seat at the table?

We have been travelling around this mountain for far too long. The healing which needs to take place must first start within ourselves, but if I may be so bold, white America won’t be able to move on either until they acknowledge the history and damage done by their ancestors instead of trying to hide it.

So, I understand the anger in the eyes of my men now. They have tarried too long with history on their backs. Their accomplishments have been diminished, their children have been given second rate educations, and they can’t stand tall without someone cutting them down or telling them to “keep their place.”

I hope those who have gone to the grave as slaves and those who ached for the day when we would be free, cannot see our lot today. For though there are no physical chains, and we aren’t breaking our backs in a cotton field anymore, we are not free. In fact, some would argue, in many ways we are more enslaved than our ancestors.
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