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Member Voices: Accountability is the Key to Progress


Black historical past month have a good time. vector illustration design graphic

By Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW

My query this month is how effectively are we residing as much as our creed to convey the woes of the marginalized to the forefront of the general public’s consideration?

The yr began, as most years do, with fireworks and a steely resolve to sort out our private woes and a promise to do higher. Eat more healthy, drink much less, and train extra.

Just a few weeks later we commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by reflecting on the social justice rules he espoused to remedy our nation’s most intractable woes.

Now it’s February and we’re celebrating African American Historical past month.

Every year this is a chance to recall what an individual can accomplish regardless of essentially the most oppressive situations. “… it’s important that we take time to have a good time the immeasurable contributions of Black People, honor the legacies and achievements of generations previous, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront these injustices that also fester at this time,” mentioned President Joe Biden as he acknowledged Black Historical past month 2022.

Whereas these are all vital yearly milestones, what does it imply if every year we are not any additional ahead than the yr earlier than?

What does it imply on a private degree if our resolve uttered so confidently on January 1st has disappeared earlier than month’s finish. It’s estimated that solely eight % of People will maintain their resolutions all year long. 

Or if our annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s rules recall a dream however persistently neglects his fervent calls to finish poverty.

“I’m all the time curious as to why many people overlook the opening statements of his 1963 deal with. It’s as if we solely hear one aspect of his speech. Why can we shortly repeat the phrases ‘I’ve a dream,’ and never the phrases ‘America has given the Negro individuals a foul examine which has come again marked ‘inadequate funds.’ However we refuse to imagine the financial institution of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to imagine that there are inadequate funds within the nice vaults of alternative of this nation,’” mentioned poet E. Ethelbert Miller.

African American Historical past Month ought to remind us, as Viktor E. Frankl mentioned, “man is able to defying and braving even the worst situations conceivable.”

However this reminiscence ought to all the time be in dialog with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who challenged our nation not simply to have a good time the few who overcame, however to recollect the unnamed plenty who have been devastated by brutal obstacles.

And all these conversations should start with the hope that every new yr can convey enchancment.

Nevertheless, enchancment solely occurs inside the context of accountability. Our civic decision to carry America to its mission of equality, inclusion and variety requires civic accountability. 

And civic accountability was constructed into the DNA of our career which was born 125 years in the past this yr at Columbia College. In keeping with our personal historical past web page, social staff are answerable for bringing the nation’s social issues to the general public’s consideration and creating the options that may make a real distinction. 

We put this mission in peril if we fail to embrace accountability.

It’s with that thought, I convey you this meditation on accountability from the web site White Supremacy Tradition.

Accountability can be a type of discernment round easy methods to dwell into shared values or rules. Accountability is one other phrase for assist; we maintain one another accountable by supporting one another to dwell into our collective values to the most effective of our means, realizing that we’ll inevitably stumble, make errors, dwell into our conditioning in ways in which trigger hurt. We may also be courageous and sort and loving and compassionate. Rules assist us focus past our personal socialized confusions. Social justice values or rules are collectively created, grounded within the generational knowledge of elders, what we have now discovered from historical past, our expertise, our understanding of the Creator and/or surroundings, and our wishes for liberation. One other means of claiming that is that if we’re simply accountable to individuals, we are able to get into hassle when the individuals we’re accountable to are performing out of confusion; that is the place our rules assist maintain us grounded. If we’re accountable solely to rules, we are likely to lose sight of the those that we’re in relationship with, so {our relationships} may help us perceive the nuance and complexity of honoring our rules.

        So, I ask, how effectively are we residing as much as our creed to convey and to maintain the woes of the marginalized to the forefront of the general public’s consideration?

About The Writer

Chad Lassiter

Chad Dion Lassiter is a nationally acknowledged professional in race relations. He has labored on race, peace, and poverty-related points in the USA, Africa, Canada, Haiti, Israel, and Norway, and is ceaselessly featured within the media offering commentary and options to racial points. Lassiter is at present government director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Fee, the place he has legislatively delegated authority to research filed complaints alleging the prevalence of illegal discrimination within the areas of employment, housing and business property, training, and/or relating to public lodging.



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