Author: Anthony Murdock II
One-Thousand. Over the weekend, I was randomly added to a GroupMe chat that had one-thousand black student leaders from across the United States working to create a unified response to the racially-motivated incidents at the University of Missouri.
Two-Hundred. Over the weekend, I was randomly added to a second GroupMe chat that was made of two-hundred black student leaders from across the Midwest, working to create a unified, yet unique, response to the racially motivated incidents at the University of Missouri.
Twenty-One. Over the weekend, I was (you guessed it) randomly added to a third GroupMe chat that was made of twenty-one black student leaders across the nation, acting as regional representatives to report the unified, yet unique, responses they had created to retaliate against the racially motivated incidents at the University of Missouri.
Nine. Over the weekend, I was (there’s a motif…just go along with it for me) randomly added to a fourth GroupMe chat was made of nine black student leaders from the Midwest who had taken great efforts in leadership during discussion in the Midwest GroupMe chat. And together, we are working to create a succinct and strategic plan to present to other black student leaders in the Midwest on how to respond to the racially motivated incidents at the University of Missouri.
One. Over the weekend, the activist within Anthony Murdock II was intentionally activated so that I could add to a conversation with one over-arching goal: to come alongside our black brothas and sistas at the University of Missouri in the strongest and most unified effort possible.
One-Thousand. Two-Hundred. Twenty-One. Nine. ONE. Over the course of the weekend, I participated in a rigorous process of filtering and organizing, all in an effort to fight for a cause. And through the filtering and organizing, the number of people around me who could make important decisions without my personal input, decreased. Dramatically.
Before I knew it, I had gone from being another random brotha in a one-thousand member GroupMe chat, to being a Midwest Regional Representative for the National Black Student Movement.
Before I knew it, I had gone from being another body of the masses, to a leader amongst many. And in order to rise to this occasion, I had to activate the activist within me.
And this activist actually lies within all of us—we’ve just got to find it. Often times, we find ourselves looking on the television screen or scrolling through our Twitter feed, looking and admiring “those people” who make such great impacts in our community. There is an awe and a reverence for “those people” who make an effort to remove their personal preferences in an effort to come alongside communities in need. But when we understand that the only difference between the person admiring the activists and the activists themselves is one person is sitting on the couch and the other is in the community, the game changes. If we learn to activate the activist within all of us, the amount of responses to events like those going on at Mizzou, or Howard, or Yale, or SMU, or Butler (and the list goes on), would be even greater than the unbelievable amount of responses student leaders have taken already.
As long as we make activism intangible in our mentalities, activism will remain a profession that we revere and respect from afar, instead of a practice that each and every one of us takes part in everyday.
We as a people, must activate the activist within ourselves to make this world better. Because the torch of change has been passed to our generation, whether we are ready or not. And unless we want to drop the torch and forever extinguish the flame and fervor for freedom that flows within our bloodstream, we must take the torch and run faster and farther than our people ever have.
The only way we do this is through making the responsibility of running fast and far with the torch of change a responsibility that doesn’t like on just “those people”, but take it upon ourselves as individuals. The torch is necessary because The System has placed us on a path towards darkness, deception and desolation—the torch of change brings light to this path, so that we may create a new path that drives us away from the path we’ve been on for too long, to a place of potential, promise and prosperity.
Take it upon yourself to activate the activist within, and contribute to the fight for freedom, rather than looking from afar. Get Up. Stand Up. And Fight.