We just proudly marched on Washington for the second time. Last week, we celebrated the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. But if we are going to truly overcome the challenges that we face before the end of the 21st century, we have much work to do!

Our forefathers and foremothers paved many roads for us. We must focus on building our race.

Yes, we were dealt a bad hand: slavery, embedded plantation mentality, Willie Lynch, denial of voting rights, separate “Colored” and “White” accommodations, lack of or substandard education, and so on. Those things kept us divided, separated and displaced.

Now—whether you’re light, bright, mocha, dark or resemble the night, it is time to unite, focus and fight for our rights!

We need to purchase from each other to increase our collective economic power and to empower our race just as others have successfully done for many decades and continue to do.

We must stop blaming others, pointing our fingers and sitting around waiting for things to happen. Forty-five years after his death, I wonder just how our amazing leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would truly feel about our race.

We must impart in our children the basic necessities of life such as respect, manners, honesty, excelling in school and loving yourself, as well as your brothers and sisters.

I’m a single mom and I see so many single moms degrading the fathers of their children. Stop degrading the men you chose and stop sabotaging your children’s relationships with their fathers just because the law looks more favorably upon women in custody situations. To continue to do so hurts our Black men and women.

Remember, that’s the father you chose for your child, no matter what. Our children deserve to see both parents and grow up feeling free to love them both, along with their blended families.

Our children need both of their parents’ love and support—not just child support.
Let’s please stop this vicious cycle of self-hatred and move swiftly and smartly toward Black love and power.

As the late James Brown said, “Say It Loud! I’m Black and I’m Proud!”

Renee Starlynn Allen is an author and youth advocate who lives in Prince George’s County, Md.

Renee Starlynn Allen

Special to the AFRO