By LaKeshia N. Myers
I’m exhausted. Literally and figuratively, exhausted. This week was one for the record books. It was filled with mock committee meetings for rushed, ill-prepared, and politically motivated legislation in the state capitol. As election fervor nears, there have been talks of ending local control of school district mask policies, attempts to force the DWD to test food stamp recipients, and a bill to disband schools. public of Milwaukee. All crowned by the mayoral primary of Milwaukee where only 30% of registered voters participated.
During Kwanzaa, I focused much of my work and organizing efforts around Ujima, the principle of collective work and responsibility. What was obvious to me was the fact that we cannot continue to focus only on what the enemy is doing (the enemy is any organization, person or institution that is anti-fairness and justice). We need to work on building coalitions and breaking down silos within our greater community.
As part of my week of service for Black History Month, I hosted a screening of the film “Nationtime,” about the 1972 Black National Political Convention in Gary, Indiana. The parallels, insight and inspiration of this convention live on today. Some of the same problems present then are present now. What struck me the most was the agreement of the collective responsibility of the community – Ujima. Confirmation that Ujima is a verb, an action word. Actions that include voting, reaching out to lawmakers, speaking out on issues, and teaching what we know to those who don’t.
It’s time to work in the pockets – we need to step out of our comfort zones to implement change. If you go to a meeting and everyone knows you, are members of the same organization or the same socio-economic station, do you really have an impact?
Or do you tick a box to say you did something? We already know what “man” is going to do – what are we willing to do to change our situation?
We have more than enough agencies and community organizations to do this work, I am committed to helping bridge the gaps and bridge the divides. We won’t get better until we decide.