By Deborah Bailey
The issues are huge
Access to voting, access to health care, instruction in our public schools, access to healthy food – or access to any food at all in some neighborhoods, public safety, and the skyrocketing cost of buying a home are major concerns for all of us. If you are a Black and living, in America – these issues hit close to home – or to the homes of your relatives and friends – no matter what your income profile is.
You might be “middle class and making it” now, but miss a few paychecks and see how quickly affordable housing and food security rise to the top of your list of concerns.
According to a June 2022 survey administered by Bloomberg Media, more than 63 percent of millennials earning $100,000 to $150,000 a year are living paycheck to paycheck.
The figures are similar shockingly similar for earners all the way up to the $250,000 bracket. While some folks walked away from the microaggressions of corporate life and started their own companies, others are still having a real tough time.
Many who have been standing in COVID-19 pandemic extended food lines haven’t yet hitched their wagon to that new opportunity and “next” in their lives. You remember what that was like?
Well, what can I do about it?
These “big ticket” issues can seem so large, that everyday people – like you and me– can easily think there isn’t much we can do. Many are especially concerned that the threat of recession adds an overwhelming burden to an already stressed life.
But wait – don’t throw your hands in the air. Level up. Stay steady.
While we can and must register to vote in the upcoming midterm elections for candidates who understand the issues we face as African Americans…we must do more. Public officials can only do so much.
You are the rest of the story.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” wrote the poet June Jordan in her classic, “Poem for South African Women.”
Did you know that local and state governments handle the most basic “quality of life” issues that impact us from day to day?
Last week’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade effectively made each state the final voice in decisions about abortions. Whatever your view is on abortion – don’t sleep on the state’s rights argument folded into that decision.
“Think globally – act locally” in the words of Dr. King, the battle cry is in this next chapter of our long american journey. The “trouble in the water” will be at your local school, clinic, police station or the state legislature.
So how can I get involved – Give me some examples
Well, the AFRO plans to do just that. For the rest of the summer, and hopefully longer, the D.C. and national page will feature tangible examples of projects, initiatives, programs, and policies in which you can get involved. Programs that rely on citizen participation, like the digital public safety tool, open policing, and D.C.’s new Eviction Diversion Program recently launched by the D.C. courts to change the game for those facing pandemic evictions. It’s time for you to get your hands dirty and learn to grow your own food and partner with one of building bridges across the river’s urban farms in Wards 7 and 8.
Each week we will feature at least one initiative that depends on you and me to be the difference that counts for our communities for our peace of mind and for this next chapter in our lives.
The post D. C. Reporters notebook: Why civic engagement? We are the ones we’ve been waiting for appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .