There is a movement taking place in America — we can see it right before our very eyes.
There are so many new and positive changes taking place, starting with the daily marching. Then there is legislation, some of which have been written and voted on already. Let’s begin in Minnesota, The People of Color and Indigenous Caucus in the Democratic-controlled Minnesota House put forward a bill which calls for reformation and accountability measures, thus updating the public safety culture, and giving officers more access to training and reviews.
Next came some transformative legislation out of D.C., when Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) joined Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.), along with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), in introducing the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The bold legislation, introduced in both chambers of Congress, is written in such a way as to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.
As Harris said, “America’s sidewalks are stained with Black blood.”
Then, in commemoration of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, to memorialize the recent tragic death of George Floyd, the University of the District of Columbia will darken its Van Ness campus lights every night for nine days. They started Friday, June 19.
Additionally, on Juneteenth, UDC President Ronald Mason Jr. took a knee and all university’s lights were dimmed for eight minutes and 46 seconds beginning at 8:46 p.m. Members of UDC’s board of trustees, including Charlene Drew Jarvis, joined the president. Hear President Mason share details of the UDC candlelight vigil on “The Lyndia Grant Show” this Friday at 6 p.m. on WYCB.
On Saturday, June 27, promptly at 8:30 p.m., UDC will host a candlelight vigil to honor each one of the thousands who have lost their lives because they were Black. The public is invited to attend the candlelight vigil.
In a bold and desperately-needed move, UDC is calling for a system which will help change four hundred years of oppression. Therefore, the University has formally announced the creation of The Institute for the Study and Elimination of White Supremacy in America, the opposite of the teachings of Willie Lynch, who taught slave owners how to train slaves (that’s another topic — you ought to Google it and read for yourself). Lynch was teaching ways to keep slaves enslaved by taking their mind.
These are changes we need today. As Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying, “You be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
This Institute is UDC’s way of doing their part in helping to build a better, more equitable nation.
“It’s very important to be here in this moment at the University of the District of Columbia,” said Charlene Drew Jarvis, the onetime president of Southeastern University and former 21-year D.C. councilwoman. “So eight minutes and 46 seconds is really a catalyst that has changed the way many Americans think about African Americans and about the humanity of African Americans.”
Mason said, “I wasn’t sure if I could kneel for [eight minutes and 46 seconds] at my age, but once there I went into a meditative state and really did think about the past, the present and the future.
“We must strengthen ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually to take on the work that’s necessary to make America live up to its ideals and that’s what really needs to happen after the noise dies down,” he said.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.