Op-EdOpinion

WILLIAMS: Survival

I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be. Although I strive to get as close as possible, I don’t evaluate my comportment as perfect or my judgment as infallible. I accept the humanity and infallibility of others and hope, that when evaluated by others, I will be extended that same courtesy and grace. On occasion, my eyes have even been closed to the obvious.

My focus has been the achievement of social and economic justice for those who’ve been historically or systematically disadvantaged by the imposition of impediments to their progress — typically, women and people of color.

The imperative of eliminating the internal and external threats to our personal and collective security has always loomed large as a personal objective and is exemplified by the incessant and growing list of those murdered by agents of “law enforcement.” I’m moved to action by the anguish of children who’re victimized by a never-ending cycle of hunger or those who receive an education that’s inadequate to provide future incomes that will sustain them or any children they will attempt to parent.

The dedicated and principled effort necessary to even begin to confront the myriad of problems impacting our communities requires single-minded focus. For generations, the volume of problems that our communities have had to face have been challenging for some and overwhelmingly difficult for most. I sometimes compare our socio-economic difficulties to an adult reality game of dodgeball. Like that ball that nearly knocks your head off, the strife and trouble common to our communities seemly come out of nowhere with the goal of knocking you out of the game — literally.

Rather than really resolving issues, many of us are caught in situational survival. We move from one crisis to another only catching the periodic “break” or respite giving us enough energy to survive through the next struggle. Having so little time for reflective thought, many of us are caught in the loop of tackling the next most critical threat to us. It’s no wonder that many people of color are without a real sense of urgency about the growing threat to our ecology.

As one who previously only focused on the more recognized, recurring and active threats against my community, I wasn’t first among those on the ecology bandwagon. Encouraged by the philosophy of indigenous people, I accepted that “only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

If we can’t live without the threat of natural disaster or a poisoned environment, what does it matter how long or under what circumstances we live? That guidance from the original caretakers of this land led to the realization that a requirement for the “true” social activist is to maintain a 360-degree awareness of things necessary to guarantee the long-term, positive quality of life.

Any observer with common sense should understand that the appointment of former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland as secretary of the Interior (first Native American so appointed), the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, and the emphasis placed on the development/refinement of renewable energy sources by President Biden should give a clue as to a growing economic opportunity.

The movement toward renewable energy should encourage those looking for high-growth employment opportunities. Increasingly, training or ground-up experience is available in solar or wind energy. Those with scientific, technical or mechanical skills can potentially write their own ticket to success.

I’m impressed with a company working to do just that. Go to www.mimsmotorsusa.com and see what they’re doing. Chief Flying Hawk once said: “Nobody can be in good health if he does not have … fresh air, sunshine and good water.”

Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.

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