" Tell me whom you love, and Iíll tell you who you are." ( African American Proverb)
What do we as a people love? We love success, respect, and pride. That is what has brought us so far in life. We strive to be the best in everything we do, and when someone says we canít, we try even harder. Is this, however, our only individuality? When I think about being an African American, I think about freedom. I think about people like Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. These were people who stood for things in their lives, and where not afraid to die for what they believed. They represent our character! Within them resides what has shaped us into the strong people that we are. As we understand all that they have done for us, we access the ability to lead the way for our next generation. However, it takes us making the same life threatening sacrifices.
I am only one person, but if I do my part as an American I will make a difference. I hope to make a difference as a teacher. My heart leaps for joy when I see children with a desire to learn. By becoming a music teacher I hope to be one of the many that lead the way for our next generation. I want to demonstrate that words are not the only thing people perceive. "Mere words are cheap and plenty enough . . . "(Penny, A Owen) I want children to express themselves in music, and play the songs of freedom instead of simply speaking the words; conduct society to the rhythms of life; strike the chords of peace; and create harmonies and melodies in action!
Our people are a song whether we acknowledge it or not. The question is, on what note will the song end? The beginning of the song, as we know, is filled with pain and separation. However, the end will be whatever we make it. It can end in dissonance or unity. By teaching children music I hope to encourage unity. When I teach little girls and boys to play music I am teaching them to depend on and support each other. In music you must depend on the person next to you, and they must depend on you. If one fails, the whole orchestra suffers. The same is true in African American society. We must depend on and support our people. If one fails, we have all failed, and if one succeeds, then we have all succeeded.
As stated before, our ancestors paved the way for us, and the ball is now in our court to continue what they have started. No one wants to talk about the pains of slavery and the shame that came with it, but if we donít talk about where we have been then we wonít realize where we are going. I want to learn more about African American history. More than what I learn in history books. There is no justice to what black people have done in the pages of Americaís history. I would love to sit down and talk with people like Maya Angelou. Someone who has truly experienced life, and gained much wisdom. She has faced issues from racial segregation to the Harlem renaissance. We, young people, want to understand the lives of those who have gone before us. We realize that we are the next generation, but how will we lead a country if we have no direction?
My direction is coming from a different source. My source was around before the fall of Rome and the tower of Babel. I am gleaning from his wisdom and understanding of life. He has given me a map to follow so I wonít get lost, and spiritual guidance so I wonít become discouraged. My source is Jesus, and his road map is called the Bible. We canít gain wisdom from him if we donít know him. I met him in the spring of 2006, and he has given my life a new direction. I want to see others undergo the same life changing transformation. I feel that if we lead people to Christ, then we donít have to worry about making a brighter future, because we will be following the morning "Son."
I believe that we as people should continue to stand for something. We have stood for the abolishment of slavery, the right to vote, racial desegregation, and freedom of speech. What are we standing for today? Are we waiting for others to make a stand on something, so we may join in with them? Why wait? Why not stand for something individually? All it takes is one. I am making my stand. I certainly want more freedom as a black woman, and I donít want to be judged solely by the color of my skin. That is why I am standing as an individual with an individual. I am standing for and with my savior, Jesus Christ. With Him all the changes that are needed will come. It will be in his timing, but they will come. He has chosen our people to go through the wilderness of slavery because he knew we were strong people. If we look to him, he will bring us through to the other side of our mountain, and end our song with joy and peace. We canít depend entirely on ourselves, but we must depend wholeheartedly on him.
"Tell me whom you love and I'll tell you who you are." We love freedom, and Jesus brings the only freedom that matters. He brings freedom from the chains of sin. Whether we are white, black, yellow, or blue, true freedom comes from the inside and works its way outward. If we love Jesus, then others will see us as we have been striving to be. FREE!
"Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the ****.
(Maya Angelou - "Still I rise," And Still I Rise)