It is now clear that we can no longer say we are making progress on race relations in America. We’re going backward. Every day we find ourselves nearly speechless regarding what comes out of the mouths of so many people who call themselves leaders. Let us just stick with Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis who had at least four years to observe extreme madness coming out of the White House and around the nation. We had an election in 2020 and had begun to believe the American people wanted to work toward semi-normalcy where most people desired to move forward and at least inching toward equality and basic human rights for all of us.
Instead, we are stuck with 24/7 of the Trump madness and a runner-up of a bunch of would-be Trumps! As an individual, I have often wondered what life would have in store for young Black people as they age. Some of them are absolute geniuses! As the days, months, and years go by, I now wonder what is going to happen to all of us if we just watch life go by instead of keeping our hands on the plow as our ancestors did.
It seems that not a day goes by without somebody coming up with a way to do harm to us. That is why I will never understand how a few of our people make themselves available to work with the racists who want to take the nation back to a time and place from which our ancestors died to free us.
We had begun to have hope. When Congressman John Lewis died, we thought surely he was well-liked on both sides of the aisle so passing a voting rights bill to honor his work would be a piece of cake!
A growing number of people had begun to honor Dr. MLK by remembering him through a day of service for those in need, making a positive difference in their communities.
Young people of all races were joining rallies for various causes. They were activists like Maxwell Frost who got elected to Congress.
A brilliant Black woman was confirmed to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court surprised us with three positive cases on fair voting. A Black/Asian woman was chosen to be Vice-President.
Honorable Barack Obama had served two glorious terms as President and Michelle Obama had completed two terms as our flawless First Lady. Many cities were electing Black Mayors and not just in small Black towns, but also in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, Kansas City, New York City, Atlanta, and more.
The Congressional Black Caucus grew to 54 members! New faces from new places come to Washington every election.
The Biden Administration had begun things to benefit all of us—even for people in areas where their Washington representatives voted against the benefits. We saw the two strongest years of job growth in history. Many borrowers began to benefit from student debt relief. Over 100 actions were taken to lower household energy costs and more!
We were on a roll. Then along came Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis who decided he could out Trump Donald Trump! He banned books by and about many of our heroes and sheroes. He picked a fight with Disney World! He totally disrespects women and Black people. He claims it’s okay for him to force people across the country to believe that we were somehow blessed to be enslaved because of the great things slavery did for us! He’s tried to distort the brutality of slavery for our people and how slavery still has scars on us.
All of us need to keep our hands on the plow and figure out our response together!
(Dr. E. Faye Williams, President of The Dick Gregory Society—www.thedickgregorysociety.org)