Three weeks ago Trayvon Martin was gunned down for no reason. Over the past week, there have been many rallies and marches demanding justice. Today there is a march in Florida and this weekend there will be a rally in Nashville. And after the marches are over, after the rallies are over, then what?
That is the question that no one can answer for me. Then what? What is the next step? What do we do next? See, I have a problem with rallying for rallying's sake. It does nothing but lets a group of impassioned people have an outlet for the passion. Unfortunately, it's not an outlet that invokes change. See, I'm a journalist by trade. I know how this is going to go. We are going to have a rally. During that rally we will clap and cheer and "uh-huh" during the speeches. The speeches will talk about how bad things are and what we theoretically should do. When the rally is over, we will walk to our car feeling smug about how we did something. And the next day, we would have really done nothing.
You must understand that a rally or a march is step ONE. You have a rally to get fired up then you act. Action is step 2. After the speeches are over, there should be voter registration tables, NAACP and Urban League sign up sheets, and phone trees created. You should be able to sign up for a committee right then and there. it sounds a bit like this: Brother, are you concerned about the voter id policy? Step over here and let me get your number. Sista, are you concerned about food deserts in urban neighborhoods? Well, let me get your email address so we can plan on how to address this issue. Sir, are you concerned about violence in your neighborhood? Well, we are putting together a neighborhood patrol that will walk the streets to make sure that what happened to Trayvon doesn't happen again. Interested? Ma'am, are you concerned about the state of our schools? Well, let me get your cell number so we can meet up before the next school board meeting. See what I mean? That's what I want to know... after the rally, THEN WHAT?
We have to stop doing what is easy. The changing of the facebook status or profile pics is easy. Going to a rally takes a bit more effort but is fairly simple. Actually committing yourself to change is hard work. Long term work. And I am not saying that you have to do everything. You don't have to do it all, but you do have to do something. Something that positively affects change. Trayvon's death should not be in vain. His death should be our -the African-American community's- "arab spring." It's a call to stand up and DO SOMETHING for the greater good.