The most glaring challenge in the 21st century for the African American community is how to be unified on issues. This a tall order and cannot be underestimated. This reality is played out each and every day, especially during times of crisis within the community. The issues could include stopping the violence, fair employment, quality health care, affordable education or erasing poverty. However, the critical questions are… Who is leading the charge? Who will speak on the issues? and most importantly, who understands what needs to happen, has the ability to articulate what is going on and is able to bring people together in order to deal with the issue at hand?
Today, there are a lot of people trying to speak for the African American community, even though many are out of touch with what is really going on within the community. From what I see and hear, there are a lot of people who are disconnected from the real issues. Amazingly, some look like us, some sound like us and some pretend to be us, if only for a moment. There are some who just don’t even care, but only want to be heard, are out for themselves, and are seeking to see what is in it for them and nothing more.
In doing a reflective review of history, it is easy to see that during every generation leaders have always emerged to provide leadership to communities, cities, churches, businesses and movements. For some of these leaders, history will be kind to them in regards to what they were able to get done, obstacles overcome and choices made. For other leaders, history will be harsh on them in terms of being a divider, non-caring or polarizing. Still others will be judged with being effective, while being remembered as doing something with good intentions. There are way too many people who talk a good game, but at the end of the day, all they have is talk, while the results remain the same.
It is important for us to remember, you can never lead people to a place where you have never been before or are willing to take the necessary “risk” to ensure success. That is perhaps the bottom line; people do not like to take “risks,” to “put skin in the game,”… “neck on the line,” or to “go all the way,” regardless of the outcome. There are no clear paths to positive outcomes along this journey and if you think we are having a tough time, just take a look at the leaders of in history. Now, how is that working for you?
Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at email@example.com, Twitter #AC53, or call 414-571-5015. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Chrch, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee.