By Brian Turner
The current American dream, historically for African-Americans, has been buoyed on dreams of land and homeownership. After slavery ended, African-Americans, fought and worked extremely hard to attain land, own businesses and build homes. The reasoning behind the effort: possess something that no one can take away.
With homeownership, communities would expand and attract more families and with land ownership, businesses evolved into thriving cities, suburbs, and communities. While land and home ownership were considered milestones of achievement (and the ultimate investment), I submit that we look to the youth in our communities today – as our next investment in greatness.
We have people in our community who are just like those early uncultivated lots settled by colonials. We have young men and women waiting for the opportunity to grow, waiting for those who have forged the way before them, to reach back – offering time, insight and encouragement.
We must take time to work with our youth to improve their outlook and give them an opportunity to be engaged and productive members of the society we envision. In cherishing and guiding our youth, we must not forget the older trailblazers that have paved the road on which we now walk. We have to remind ourselves to take stock in our more seasoned citizens and relish their status as holders of knowledge to guide our society clear of the mistakes of our past.
Our investment in people mirrors our countries early investment into itself. Our early settlers, took chances, risks, and compromised their wellbeing. Whether, European or African slave, Native American, or immigrant, each one of us share the collective success of someone sowing a seed of sacrifice in our heritage so that we can enjoy the fruits of triumph.
We are all wedded to this community and just like in any healthy relationship; the time comes when we must invest in each other to achieve our individual and collective objective. Take a quick glimpse around Pensacola and you can see the battle being waged against our children.
Music, movies, and money are creating superficial and material zombies that will ultimately misappropriate resources rather than contribute to our growth. Through our own hunger for things we are losing the greatest resource we have; our people. We have to reestablish and maintain the community spirit that has fueled our country’s greatest triumphants.
We must accept Muzafer Sherif’s idea of superordinate goals. We must provide our future with the resources, opportunities, and structure to prevail, and if not then we cannot expect our community to succeed.
We need to continue building Pensacola with a focus on providing for an educated populace, committed to uplifting the entire community through investing its greatest investment; each other – but that’s just my opinion.
The time is here. The time is now. Invest wisely. Invest in our people. Invest in Pensacola.