COMMENTARY: Take no breaks in making change

Jasmine Kelly

Civil Rights activist Angela Davis once said we can’t assume that making a difference decades ago will allow you to live on the effects of that difference forever. It made me think about my mother’s generation and my own, with regard to how comfortable and content we all have become.

Vulgar depictions of women and minorities flood our plasma television screens while derogatory music fills our ears. There’s nothing wrong with being at ease and satisfied with your lot in life and reaping the benefits of hard labor; but the benefits of labor are meaningless if you quit.

I will be forever grateful for the Civil Rights movement, protesters and those who fought in any war and lost their lives. I am thankful for the blood, sweat and tears that cascaded down my ancestors’ hands that built the White House; it provided shelter for many corrupt leaders, some of whom did not consider African-Americans whole persons, though we’ve built this country. I just find it despicable to feel that everything is OK when people still suffer from Hurricane Katrina, schools just a walk away from our nation’s capital are in shambles, Haiti remains unstable, crooked cops are in charge of protecting us and Americans are losing their homes and businesses rapidly, while the media portrays only a portion of what I just described.

The point is that there is still some major work to be done, especially amongst me and fellow African-Americans. It is imperative that we stay informed about what’s going on because being up to date helps us to become conscious, which ultimately leads to change. Even with an African-American president in office, we have more strides to make, and we cannot continue to ride the coattails of past generations any longer.

Take Egypt for example. The people saw error in their government and decided it was time for a change, even though it was at the expense of some lives. Therefore, I urge each one of us to stay abreast of current events, know the basis of politics and check in with each other every once in a while. With that, I leave you with the words of Nikki Giovanni, one of my favorite poets and another African-American female activist – “There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world, I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

Jasmine Kelly

Atlanta junior

This commentary doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the Herald or the university.