Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Place in Politics, Obama speaks for Urban America

By Myisha Cayro

Obama speaks out for the youth, the young, the veterans and the mothers, for all of those struggle to live the American life. In last nights Democratic National Convention Senator Barack Obama echoed Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech delivered 45 years ago, change is necessary, and the fight to live the American life is not equal for all Americans. No longer should we live by the Republican Policies that have brought us to a place of war, deficit and inequality.

As Senator Barack Obama promises things like equal pay for an equal days worth of work, the best education for all youth, and health care for all Americans, not only does King’s fight for change continue, its leaning on the side of victory. As Senator Barack Obama promises things to Urban youth like money for a college education, we can be at peace to know that our youth are being presented opportunities that were once only promised to youth in the suburbs, King's dream is becoming more clear.

It is certain that we have left the days of inequality when we were forbidden the use of a white mans drinking fountain, but as Michelle Obama stated, we’re still “…driven by a … belief that the world as is just wont do…” It will not do, change is necessary, and Senator Obama offers a Change We can Believe In. As Senator Obama spoke on issues within our society he clearly empathized with those within our community who are hard working and have yet to see a pay off, offering a hope that was unimaginable but now clearly attainable. Kings dream is alive.

I dream to see the day that the young men in our community reject the life of crime, no longer turning to it as “their place” in society, or looking to it as a way up or a way out. The day when a college student doesn’t have to work 40 hours a week to pay for an education, Senator Obama promised in his speech that this was something I would have to worry less about. Our youth will receive money for their college education. This is the voice that we have been longing to hear, the voice that speaks to us and for us. We have found a special place in politics this election, “Obama 2008, Change you can believe in,” these are the words that we have heard, this is the hope that sounds a lot like freedom, so let it ring.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Dr. Kings speech delivered four and a half decades ago and last night another dynamic speech was delivered that will one day stain the pages of history books all across this country. Two men, one nation, one dream… the baton has been passed… Kings dream lives through Obama. This November go out and vote, be a part of change that will affect your community, your family and most importantly you! We are still you!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Black in America-a college student's view

In the midst of an era where we could quite possibly have an African American male claim the position of the President of the United States of America, it only seems befitting that CNN would air a series that dedicates content and commentary to the lives of Black citizens in this country. The two day series entitled Black In America aired on Wednesday, July 23rd from 9pm-11pm and Thursday, July 24th from 9pm-11pm as well, and had special encore presentations as well. Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien not only shed light on issues that most African Americans face on a daily basis, but also interviewed some of Hollywood’s Black elite: such as actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg, director Spike Lee, actress Vanessa Williams, comedian D.L. Hughley, professor/author Michael Eric Dyson, and Bishop T.D. Jakes.

The first night of the documentary series consisted of an in depth look into the lives of the Black woman and family in America. It focused on topics such as attitudes towards interracial relationships, disparities between White and Black students in the classroom, experiences of the Black middle class, the progress of Black women professionally and within universities, and the disturbing climb of HIV/AIDS rates within the Black community. On the second night, CNN aired the conclusion of the series, which focused exclusively on the Black male and his plight within American society. CNN made it a point to not just expose negativity regarding some of harsh realities that Black men faced, but also took the initiative to shine a light on some of the achievements and successes that Black men have accomplished. This was equally done during the second segment by showing paralleling stories of two Black men that were both graduates of the 1968 class of the historically significant Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Both men vividly expressed stories of the racial prejudices that they faced at a school that was monumental in segregation during the Civil Rights movement, and explained how they reached the point where they are today: one as a school district superintendent, and the other a former felon and current preacher. The segment continued by also following the trails of the sons and grandsons of both men and their experiences with interracial dating, being classified as “acting white”, and battling law enforcement and the growing rate of Black males within the prison system. The segment concluded in the same fashion, by highlighting the life of author Michael Eric Dyson and his road to becoming a Princeton scholar, a Georgetown professor, and a well respected figure in African American Civil Rights issues, as well as featuring the story of his brother Eric Dyson, who is currently serving a life sentence in prison for murder. Michael Dyson touched on the “light skinned vs. dark skinned” complex within the Black community, and his brother finalized both of their predicaments by following the question posed by Soledad O’Brien, “how did two men from the same household and upbringing end up on such different paths” with the reply that simply stated…“choices…it all comes down to choices”.

CNN did a competent job of showcasing a documentary that touched on issues that many African Americans encounter on a daily basis. Some strings were left untied and a few stories were left with holes, however, there was content available that the majority of American society may not be knowledgeable of. The series was a reminder that although we have come very far as a people, we still have a long way to go to achieving a desired level of progress within this country. It is truly going to take the unity of the Black community as a whole to combat many of the disparities that are faced daily, however, I think welcoming the idea of African American president is certainly the first step. That accomplishment alone could be a factor that turns the tides in a massive way. As Eric Dyson stated, in the end, it will all come down to our willingness to fight for a change, and the choices that we decide to make. So what will yours be?