“Do you give a damn?” This is a question I want you to ask yourself. Do you give a damn about poverty? What about education? Immigration and the children separated from their families at the border? LGBT issues, economic development, elections—do you give a damn about any of these issues? What about the young African American men and women whom police routinely shoot down? Do you give a damn about the family of Emmett Till receiving justice? What about the Confederate flag still hanging over Mississippi, regardless of the terror it invokes?
Do you give a damn about anything besides yourself and your own life? I can't answer this question for you. You’re the only one who can give your honest answer, and I truly believe there's no right or wrong one. There is only the question, and your honest answer because you have to be willing to live in your own truth.
When I began my journey as a community leader, this was the question I had to answer for myself. Before I could step forward and become a voice for my community, and create a platform for bringing about change, I first had to decide whether or not I cared enough to do this.
The life of a community activist isn't glamorous. Fighting for justice isn't glitz and red-carpet affairs and photo-ops. This is a life that never allows you to truly rest because there is so much injustice in the world.
There are scores of urgent calls from people in the community who need your help, and and people spend hours upon hours organizing the community to come together so they can discover their strength in numbers.
None of this is easy. But I decided to do this because I didn't want anyone else to have to go through what I went