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Defining Moments…

These past few weeks have been stressful so I won’t try and formulate a coherent opinion on any of the hot-button topics. To be honest, I’ve just been too tired to deal with much of anything lately. Instead, I will share something with you guys.

I haven’t lived much. 23 very short years, in fact. With that, I know that I haven’t seen much of anything or done much that is noteworthy. So when I am able to speak with people who have lived long and fruitful lives, I listen. And those moments, those very few moments have been instrumental in shaping many of my thoughts and practices. One of those moments came exactly two years ago when I was invited to interview one of the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights struggle.

Mukasa Dada, once referred to as the “fiery orator” of the SNCC by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is (or should be) known for having popularized the slogan: “Black Power!” It was during a Stokely Carmichael speech at a rally in 1966 when Willie Ricks hopped on stage and called to the crowd: “What do you want?!” to which the crowd responded: “BLACK POWER!”

I wish that I could share the entire interview here but space restraints won’t allow for that. It was one of the most inspiring conversations I’ve had in my short 23 years.  I’ll share a piece of one of his answers with the hope that it inspires someone else.

What would you say are the keys to organizing people? How can we get people moved the way they were in the 60s and 70s?

What we need today is an organization like SNCC that is built around the youth; and that can scatter members to form more organizations and coordinate and try to understand what happened to us. And these organizations need educational components to teach us about ourselves. Like rap today, it’s just kids crying out as slaves because that’s what they’ve been taught as, slaves. But if you educate the youth, they will rap and dance to a new tune.


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