It’s the time of year where resolutions and declarations are made and the promise of change comes to the forefront of minds and lips. Many shun New Year’s resolutions and reject attaching much importance to linking change to change in the Gregorian calendar.
But taking a look at oneself and one’s life and deciding what things need to change or improve doesn’t have to be a shallow and conventional exercise. Many won’t go into the year 2014, their final testament is written and a period has been placed at the end of their lives. They won’t have the opportunity to assess or change anything.
But so long as we have breath we should be thankful, reflective and willing to look at ourselves in the mirror–whether physical, financial, spiritual or all three. If we can look and learn that decisions and actions have consequences, we can commit to making better decisions and taking better actions.
We do not have to be slaves to what once was and we should not be so ungrateful and so full of “spirits” that we cannot appreciate the gift of life and the possibility of progress.
We can do things differently; we must do things differently in 2014:
1. We can show one another more respect than we did in 2013. Whether on streets in front of homes or in office suites, we don’t have to denigrate and revile one another. We don’t have to speak ill of others in our field or profession or even our rivals. We don’t have to play into the entertainment world beefs and conflicts that have ended with Black people hurt, jailed and killed.
2. We can decide to better spend our money to create opportunity and a future for ourselves. Black America has about $1 trillion in annual collective spending strength. Money is potential power; its potential is only as good as how we use it. If we don’t determine to spend money with one another we have by default decided to stay weak and at the mercy of others. In February 2013, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan announced the revival of Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint. At the time, he shared how Blacks spend just six cents of every dollar with each other. If Black on Black spending doubled to 12 cents, it would create nearly 600,000 additional jobs for Black workers and reduce Black employment by three percentage points, the Minister pointed out at the “Wealth, Education, Family & Community: A New Paradigm For Black America” forum March 30 in Chicago with author and economist Dr. Boyce Watkins. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad asked Blacks to put away five cents a day in a common treasury, and with 16 million working Blacks giving 35 cents a week, in one year over $291 million would be accumulated, Min. Farrakhan noted. Donations can be made now at economicblueprint.org, or mailed to Seaway Bank & Trust Company, P.O. Box 19522, Chicago, IL 60619-9522, Attn: Sherlyn Russell.
As Dr. Watkins noted during the forum: “Understand this, that when we choose to act or not to act, there will be an impact there will be a consequence.”
“Wealth does not start from access to material things, wealth starts with your possession of knowledge,” Min. Farrakhan said. It is proper knowledge that leads to productive, independent activity to create wealth, knowledge the enemy has never provided, he added.
3. We can be less reactive. We know that violence is a problem and a crisis in our community. We know when violence is likely to spike at times and we know the pain of loss. We don’t need to wait until a heartbreaking loss of life or high profile event happens. We can cooperate regularly and support the anti-violence work done on the streets daily. We need more than symbolic marches, meetings and forums; we need a joint, coordinated and sustained anti-violence effort.
4. We can have greater faith. Our forefathers survived the worst slavery and atrocity in world history. Our survival is a testament to who we are and where we come from. Our future is also bright, according to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He taught, and Min. Farrakhan has reminded us, that God Himself has chosen the children of America’s once slaves as his people, just as Jehovah chose Israel and delivered Israel from Egypt. If God be for us, who can be against us and win? We need to focus and build our faith in God and move forward.
5. We can have a little more courage. Increased faith should lead us to step a little more boldly as we confront internal and external challenges. We don’t have to fear our weaknesses and failures; we can meet them head on with strength and overcome them. We don’t have to be fearful in the streets or in the world. We can unite and come against issues and problems like a solid wall. We don’t have to let outside forces determine who among us can be at our table. We can stand up like men and women and take our destiny in our own hands. We, and our leaders, can reflect on the crisis we face and decide we will save ourselves. This can be the year in which Black leaders accept the request from Min. Farrakhan to meet, dialog and form a united front for the benefit of our people. We don’t have to be afraid. We are the best, the righteous, the powerful in God’s eyes.
6. We can tune out more of the madness. There is a steady stream of distracting and disturbing programming to be found in media, whether it is traditional or social media, whether it is online, offline, video games or videos. Much of it is damaging and disturbing. Conflict, commercialism, consumerism even cannibalism are some of its hallmarks. Gossip, envy, slander and innuendo are its favorite children. Does the negativity help us, does it build us up, does it enlighten us, does it inspire us? It is natural at times to desire some mindless entertainment and distraction from the real world, but when the world of un-reality becomes our world, we are off course. Greater knowledge, greater wisdom, greater understanding can help us progress and improve our state of mind and spirit.
Move forward in the New Year. If you get stuck, start over–you don’t have to wait for 2015. Your New Year can start anytime you desire to be a new you; our New Year begins when we determine to be a new and better people.