Thousands participated in a Detroit march commemorating the 50th anniversary of one that Martin Luther King Jr. led in 1963. The civil rights icon visited Detroit on June 23, 1963, to lead tens of thousands in a freedom walk and also previewed his “I Have a Dream” speech.
The daylong event culminated in a riverfront rally with dozens of speakers at Hart Plaza talking on topics ranging from issues of social and economic justice to frustrations over the appointment of an emergency manager in Detroit.
While some of the issues facing Detroit are different from those addressed in the Walk to Freedom in 1963, Sharpton said, the goal for Saturday’s march was the same. “Let’s walk for a better tomorrow,” he said. “We’re not on a nostalgia trip down Woodward. We still have challenges.”
Many of us have never actually been considered slaves but we’ve taken ownership of the slave mentality. It’s time to take responsibility for our freedom and let go of the slave mentality. It seems that most people consider the word freedom to only pertain to physical slavery. Most people know the generic definition of freedom such as:
- The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
- The power to determine action without restraint.
- The power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without.
The truth is ANYTHING that is keeping you from doing something you want to do, is limiting your freedom. There remains a lot of damage to the minds of colored people even years after slavery. Racism still flourishes in society. Unfortunately, it is one of those predicaments African Americans have to face in their struggle. Things have changed and times are different, but many African Americans today are suffering from the after-effects of the struggle for justice. They are mentally lost in a time warp.
There was nothing wrong with the struggle, yet it left us mentally crippled due to our behavioral choices and actions. We developed the attitude, “They must do something for us, or else.” We decided to fold our arms, sit down, and watch: “See what they are going to do now!” This behavior indirectly amounted to surrender for some, and a life of dependency for others notwithstanding the success of many hard-working African Americans. But it did not resolve the serious problems of our inability to develop and orchestrate effective strategies to solve social problems at the community levels. We became so entangled with the struggle that even when the struggle began to diminish we held on as if in a fight to keep it alive instead of embracing the opportunity to grab hold to our freedom.
They say hypertension is killing the African American people; a great deal of it is probably self-imposed. We tend to major on minors while real issues within our own “person” remain untouched. We refuse to look at our lives and realize that our current situation is a report card of yesterday’s choices.
Looking at our problems and what we have been doing, the solution is simpler than we want to believe. We must change our slave mentality to one of thinking we are free and capable of doing things for ourselves, instead of carrying protest signs on our sleeves and in our minds. Many times we sabotage our own efforts due to inability to resolve our differences with other African Americans. Three things you should know about the fight for your freedom:
- It’s a fight for your perspective. Your perspective is the way you see things unraveling in the world around you. It’s your perspective that governs your behavior; you’re only as free as your perspective. With a simple shift in your viewpoint you can radically change every experience you encounter. You can see opportunities or obstacles; possibilities or potential. Perspective is a simple, yet profound, internal resource that is often overlooked.
- It’s a fight for your creativity. You’ve grown stale because nothing new is being generated you’re just recycling your belief system, finances, and information. You never invest it so you can increase your return. Our world today and all of the “miracles” of technology we currently experience and enjoy are a result of continuous creative innovation. It seems that there is often the belief that innovation is virtually instantaneous. Innovation is often predicated on some vast storehouse of creativity, experience or knowledge which provides that foundation for a new idea or concept. Instant success often takes years.
- It’s a fight for your story! You have untapped potential that is not subject to those around you. Your story is one of the most precious and priceless things you own. Too often people don’t share their story because of shame or embarrassment. You’re ashamed of the choices you’ve made or embarrassed about things that were thrust upon you. Your experiences are your story and all are important to the person you are. Never doubt the power of your story. Your story is what connects you to the world and is empowering for those around you and many you may never meet. Your story is healing and liberating. Don’t relinquish the power of your story!
Thousands of residents, activists and celebrities took part in the anniversary march through the city to Hart Plaza, including Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony and comedian and activist Dick Gregory. However, until we put as much energy into “marching” as we should into owning our own lives change will only be figment of our imagination. Become the master of your freedom by taking responsibility in every way you can. You deserve so much better, and the good news is that you are truly in control. You just have to grab the wheel and start driving! Take your life off of autopilot and be proactive.
By: Cherese Jackson