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EDITORIAL: Black History on Tap

2/5/2014, 3 p.m.
While it is important to honor the best in black culture and to hold up that which has too often ...
1963 March on Washington Courtesy Photo

For the next 28 days, everywhere we look, we'll be reminded of all things black during Black History Month.

While it is important to honor the best in black culture and to hold up that which has too often been hidden from most Americans, not just the black ones, it is time for black people to do much more.

As the Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.” In much the same manner, merely remembering our past, singling out some of the key players and intoning some of their sayings is not enough.

Black people must begin to translate that black pride into certifiable actions and gains.

That includes making some different choices about how we make the best use of the approximately $1 trillion in spending power available to this nation’s 42 million African Americans. How are we spending those dollars? What are our purchasing choices? Where does the majority of our money go?

We have to do a better job grooming the next generation of leaders and tap into the core of young people who represent our future. We must become producers not consumers. Hold all our leaders – secular and religious – accountable; demand more from them; work from the ground up to rebuild neighborhoods; attend school board, city hall and community meetings; and stay in the face of elected officials so that communities get the most from our tax dollars.

Equally important is that adults need to stop being afraid of our children and engage them in constructive ways. Our children need us. All we have to do is look around to see that they need guidance, our love and support.

We need to turn off the idiot box, IPhone, IPad and all those gadgets, get outside. Crack open a book and learn about Jan Matzeliger, Ida Wells Barnette, Amilcar Cabral and Bessie Coleman. That’s a Black History Month worth celebrating.