Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash
We’ve been fighting the battle against racism for far too long. We need an action plan to transform our communities. Start here.
*NOTE: The following list is not meant to be exhaustive but rather a running list that I will update as I research new matters and face new challenges on this road called life. I have hopefully made each point short enough that people will take the time to read the entire list and fight for the issues that fit the needs of their particular community. The power is yours.** See Part 1 of this series. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
FOCUS AREA #3: THE BALLOT BOX
I did not list this first because in my community the only options ever given to us are pray and vote. There is so much more that you can do than just vote and pray (see the entire list above). Voting comes around every two to four years; its what we do in-between our trips to the voting booth that counts. But concurrently, with the ideas above, you can also engage in the following:
55. Organize a campaign for a young person or non-European American to run for office. There are so many positions out there at the local level that people can run for: school board member, school superintendent, county auditor, sheriff, county treasurer, city council member, mayor, county council, city/county prosecutor (solicitor), the list goes on. No one wins off luck alone, you must have a team and you must strategize. There is a bright young person out there full of ideas, they just need to be groomed. Get with others that have the funds, media-savvy, and political clout to get bright young persons with ideas into political positions to create and implement anti-racist, equitable policies to improve your cities, counties, and classrooms.
56. Run for office yourself (but run with ideas). Some ideas are listed above but there are many other ideas and items that are particular to your community that need to be addressed. What are they? If you are not sure, ask around. The people closest to the problems are typically closest to the solutions. But do not run alone. That is like sending a sheep to be amongst wolves. Create an election bloc of like-minded persons to run for school board, county/city council under the same platform of socio-economic justice principles. It happened in Baltimore. Power is when you can deliver resources, services, and funding to your communities and not compromise. When you run the team, you don’t have to compromise.
57. Vote. Yes, voting is important and local elections are the most important of all. Yet, few people participate in local elections. Another reason why nothing has changed in our communities. So please vote but remember: no agenda to alleviate the socio-economic conditions of marginalized communities equals no vote.
Greta Thunberg said “[t]he one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act hope is everywhere. Instead of looking for hope look for action. Then and only then hope will come.” We have to get moving. Our children want to believe in the American dream. They are dying to believe that there is a better life for them, but reality keeps demonstrating that the dream we are selling them is actually a nightmare. We must tell our kids the truth, have a plan to improve their lives, and they will follow us. We sold them a dream, now is the time to wake up and transform that dream into reality. This may be our last chance to get it right. Let’s do this for them, let’s do this for us. Welcome to a better way.
This article was written by Joshua V. Barr, Director, Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission. Connect with Joshua on Twitter or Email.