My Open Letter to the Black CommunityJul 8, 2013. Written by Nicole Tinson
Dear Black America,
My name is Nicole Angela Tinson, and I am from South Central Los Angeles. I am writing you because we are in trouble! Our educational system is terrible, the violence in our communities is horrific, the lack of empowerment disdains, the lack of job/economic opportunities is appalling, the health disparities are sickening, and our sense of pride appears to have gone out the window. We are keeping calm, when we should be outraged. We are in trouble, and this is not new. These are the same issues we have been dealing with in our community for decades, but when will we stand up and say, “enough is enough” Black America?
Black America— so much depends on our own, personal responsibility. Sure it is easy to blame “them,” but what about US? When will we take credit for what we do (and choose not to do)? When will we admit that we are not building our OWN economy by creating and supporting small businesses in our community? When will we admit that we are not fighting to end food deserts present in OUR neighborhoods which lead to the many of the health disparities we encounter? When will we admit that the people killing our people look, talk, and even have the same blood running through them as we do? When do we face our part in our problems and decide once and for all to make a change?
The word change is powerful and is used colloquially. There are several definitions of the word CHANGE; they include: to make different in some particular; to make radically different (transform); or to give a different position, course, or direction to. We need to make something radically different. We need a new direction. Black America, we need a change. What we are doing now is not the answer because we keep ending up at the same point. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. It is clear we have gone insane, but this is not the end all. This moment is full of potential for us to progressively make and become the change we wish to see. Ultimately, it is our responsibility break this complacency seen in our community.
Black America, what does it take for us to become mobile? For us to move with a sense of purpose and urgency? How many more people need to die from heart disease because we are not being healthy and taking care of us? How many more people need to resort to selling drugs or their bodies on the streets because they lack the quality education and professional skills to attain LIVABLE economic opportunities? How many children need to fall behind after the third grade because we are not taking the responsibility at home to help them learn how to read and write? How many people need to be killed senselessly, before we decide we need to move, and move quickly? (67 people were killed in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend) How many more people need to be placed in handcuffs in an institution intended to rehabilitate, but which only intensifies the core reasons for being placed there in the first place? How can we complain about the situations in our communities, but not get out and vote for state and local officials, the positions that impact our lives the most? How much longer will we be represented by people that do not have our best interests at heart? How much longer are we going to allow these cyclical issues occur?
We cannot continue to have the “it doesn’t concern me” attitude because it affects all of us whether we are aware or not. When we learn it is not about us individually, but about the greater whole, we will have essentially found the purpose of living and the urgency to make our living conditions better. When we understand that we are expected to fail, but are built to overcome, it will make the fight to redemption of our people even more valuable and immeasurable in the end. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speech I’ve Been Over the Mountaintop, “let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.” And we do. It is up to us to make Black America better. It is up to us to endure this present challenge and make a change.
Black America— the time is now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not next year, but NOW. It is up to us to make a change. We have to stop talking about it and be about it. Mentor a child, encourage those doing wrong to do right AND provide them with the resources to do so, love one another, empower each other, do not judge one another, provide support in times of trials and tribulations to one another, educate one another, include one another, grow with one another, work with a purpose with one another, pray with one another, stand up against injustice with one another, love one another and most importantly have faith in one another. We understand the issues, but through hard work, dedication, and most importantly FAITH, we can see and make the change we wish to see.
A friend of mine, Rachel Williams said, “standing up for what is right will be an increasingly more complex decision. It will get harder and the social consequences will be deeper.” But nothing that comes easy is worth having. It will take much courage, integrity, character, composure, and resilience, but Black America, I know we are equipped. It starts with the individual; not an organization, not an initiative, not a campaign or cause, but with YOU Black America. A change is going to come, but it will not come if we continue to sit around and wait for it. We have to become proactive in this effort of making our community better. The responsibility rests with you. The change stems from you. Black America, I look forward to your response and I understand that it will not be instant, but I have patience, and know the right thing will be done. I love you Black America.
Nicole A. Tinson
Optimistic About Change