From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
It’s Up To Us
“We must give up the silly idea of folding our hands and waiting upon God to do everything for us. If God intended that He would not have given us a mind; He would not have given us intelligence; He would not have given us His Soul; He would not have placed us here in the midst of creation and surrounded us with all the beautiful things of nature. Whatsoever you want in life you must make up your mind to do it for yourself and accomplish it for yourself; whether it is rearing a home, expanding and empire, if you want to do it, you must do it for yourself then God will bless the effort because He will realize that you are using your intelligence for the best.” Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons
As the US and global economies unravel many people are getting feint hearted, anxious and fearful. This is not the time to wimp out on life just because things are falling down around us, because you bought into a materialistic reality that is now turning to ashes or because you were hoodwinked and bamboozled by the powers that be. As bad as things are and as bad as things will get, there is no reason to give up, quit on yourself and our community. Think about how hard our ancestors had it during slavery, the oppression they experienced, the dehumanization, denigration and disrespect the dominant society heaped upon them yet they persevered and endured. Think about how hard our parents and grandparents had it during the “Great Depression” and add the ravages of Jim Crow/apartheid to the equation. Yet they made it through. Yes we have been wounded, scared and abused but we are still standing. There is something in the human make up; in our DNA and spirit that has the power and efficacy to transcend even the most horrific experiences and allow us to emerge stronger and more powerful than ever. We must learn to tap into that and utilize it for our redemption.
Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest motivators, organizers and leaders of the modern era. He came on the scene at a time when European colonialism and exploitation were at their zenith, when black, brown and yellow humanity chaffed under the brutal yoke of white imperialism. Not only was there physical maltreatment, our people were also subjected to unfathomable mental and psychological degradation. Despite this oppression, Marcus Mosiah Garvey had a vision of African redemption, elevation and accomplishment. He traveled around the world and everywhere he went he saw Africans in a forced state of debasement, on the bottom rungs of an externally imposed social order subjected to mind numbing indignities and discrimination. Something deep within him stirred him and urged him to change this situation and alter the reality of Africans worldwide.
Garvey looked at the situation of Africans world wide and said to himself, “We can do better, we can be better.” From this epiphany he embarked on a mission to raise up the whole race, not just himself, his family and a few others but the whole race! Garvey envisioned a world where African people would stand proud as captains of industry, commerce, self-governance and accomplishment. He knew it would require a different mind set from the slave mentality the colonizers and oppressors had cunningly conditioned our people to internalize. He knew it would require unity and hard work. Nevertheless he answered his inner call, the still small voice and he set out to actualize his vision.
Garvey was a unique leader. He exhorted black people all over the world, not just Jamaica but the whole world, to believe in themselves and their possibilities. His message by default challenged global white supremacy. But Garvey did it as a man, not the representative of a religious organization. Garvey never presented himself as a preacher cleric or guru. While his organization, the United Negro Improvement Association -African Communities League eventually developed a religious component, it was a holistic movement that demanded African people believe in themselves and in group actualization, action and accomplishment. Garvey did not encourage his followers to depend solely on divine intervention and miracles. He demanded they use their god given talents, energy and material resources no matter how meager in a collective fashion to do for self and race. In so doing he created the largest mass movement of African people the world has ever seen.
We can learn several lessons from Marcus Garvey to deal with the challenges we are facing today. First Garvey didn’t allow his circumstances to prevent him from dreaming. He used his imagination. He thought on a global scale. So can we. We need to visualize a better reality for ourselves.
Garvey was very resourceful he was frugal, he was focused and he prioritized his life. He found ways to travel and see the world at a time when most black people were relegated to plantations, farms and mines doing back breaking manual labor. He made friends with disaporan Africans who educated him about the world’s history and teach him skills he would later use in his life mission. So can we. Our friends and associates should edify us, motivate us and help us do and be better.
Garvey was a stellar example of purposeful action. He said “Up you mighty race you can accomplish what you will.” Garvey knew what his life mission and destiny were, to ignite a global movement for African redemption. What is your mission, what is your destiny or purpose? Life is not random nor is it whimsical happenstance. The CREATOR has a master plan and a plan for all our lives. It behooves you (and us) to discovery why you are here and be about the business of fulfilling your purpose, because in the overall scheme of things, it is good. We have to learn our purpose, our Nia and begin to make positive and necessary contributions to the collective (humanity). What better time then now, now is all we have. The challenges the world is facing need solutions now. Tomorrow is not promised. We must envision ourselves boldly making ourselves and the world a better place. If it is to be, it is up to us.