The Power of Vision in Overcoming Social Injustice
This Black History Month, let’s reflect on the past as we prepare to step into the future of our dreams. With racial injustice reaching a fever pitch in 2020, and the rise of initiatives to address the harms of racism, we’ve seen how much ground is left to cover. This should serve as motivation, reminding us what’s at stake should we fall into the temptation to become despondent. We must learn how to celebrate progress as we strive for change and equality. It is vital to take a shared trip down memory lane to better understand how we can keep unpleasant portions of history from repeating themselves. That way, in the future, we will not only have the privilege to celebrate Black history but to also celebrate Black realities and Black futures.
To see a better path for Black futures requires us to spearhead and sustain the movement. We can celebrate Black history now because there were people who dared to fight for a vision that was not fully actualized in their time. These heroes braved the storms, they were jailed, ostracized, and stripped of their dignity; yet they were unstoppable. Some of them even sacrificed their lives for the vision of equality and justice. Even in death, their voices still speak because they believed and never gave up. Their vision has kept the hope of many alive. A compelling vision never stops with one person, it is transgenerational and has the power to impact all of humanity.
What is Vision?
Vision is the ability to see into the future. It is the ability to grasp a hidden potential and maximize it. Vision empowers you to see beyond the limitations of the present and push past boundaries, in turn breaking new grounds. Vision is a force that drives you to set paces and initiate new trends. The bearer of a vision takes it upon themselves to get results instead of making excuses. Vision never quits, it never backs down, it keeps pushing until the unseen becomes visible. Vision in and of itself is powerful, but it requires action and patience for it to manifest.
Vision is one of the keys to thriving amid uncertainty; it harnesses the power of imagination and sees possibilities. Vision often comes as a result of pain points, burdens, unpleasant experiences, or disruptions. In most cases, a vision seems far-fetched, it takes courage to defy the odds. Visionaries at times can be labeled as misfits in society; they can go through many trials and errors before getting it right! I remember being asked as a young child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You may have been asked the same. From my observation, some responses usually got a lot of accolades, some professions were always a hit, while the not-so-common ones were frowned upon.
Times like this are calling for a new set of visionaries. It is a wake-up call for sleeping giants; beckoning them to stand up and take their places. All the disruptions around us are calling for a whole new world. This is the best time to be alive, as creatives are being celebrated! It is indeed time to dream again, and to dream big! It is time to catch the baton from those who have gone ahead - now we can run until we cross the finish line.
The future is calling and it is time to answer the call. To win, we have to play by a different set of rules.
What Does Vision Have to Do With Social Justice?
History has proven that vision is the key to innovation and creativity. People who have dared to believe that anything is possible are celebrated for outstanding ideas and inventions. Those who never settled for the ordinary have been memorialized as legends of their times. When it comes to vision and social justice we can not help but acknowledge the civil rights activists who made it their life’s mission to end institutionalized racial discrimination and racial segregation.
I often wonder how one dream propelled someone like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to do so much. Despite all the odds against him, he never stopped going after his dream. Even with the agitations around him, he chose peace over violence. He knew that a key to justice was unity, defining a dream that became his life’s vision and mission. His dream was much more than a speech; he not only talked the talk but he walked the walk.
Dr. King took up leadership positions, traveled over six million miles to appear where there were protests and issues of injustice, spoke over 2,500 times about these issues, wrote five books and numerous articles, he directed the peaceful march of over 250,000 people in Washington, D.C., and much more because of his vision.
His pursuit for justice was not without its fair share of challenges. He was arrested about 20 times, assaulted at least four times, and his house was bombed. Yet he still emerged as a visionary. At the end of the day, he was assassinated because of and in the process of pursuing his vision.
We must also foresee challenges in the pursuit of social justice, but they should never deter us.
After the Protests, What’s Next?
In 2020, millions of people all across the United States took to the streets in Black Lives Matter protests. These protests served as a catalyst and now it is time for permanent change. Many gathered in unity to stand against police brutality, murder, and racist crimes. This is a great feat that requires further action. The achievement of social justice is a collective effort. It requires all hands on deck, it starts with all of humanity deciding to play their part.
You may be asking yourself, how can I play my part? Here are a few suggestions to adapt to your personal vision: first of all, you must catch a glimpse of the overall vision for social justice and run with it. Take time to do a self-appraisal and make efforts to see people and things in the right light. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly irrespective of their differences. Ensure that you do your part to treat everyone that crosses your path well; being impartial, seeing beyond race, socioeconomic status, educational status, and more; and choosing to accept and appreciate people for who they are. Making the world a better place starts with a personal decision to be a better person. Everyone deserves a portion of the American Dream; as it’s been said, “teamwork makes the dream work.”
Starting at the roots and building a solid foundation is also essential in the actualization of social justice. Our major perspectives about life are often formed during childhood. For parents, it starts with raising children to see that difference is beautiful. Teaching them to embrace, respect, and celebrate different cultures. The journey continues with the quality of our education system, by appealing to lawmakers and educators; everyone should be given the opportunity to thrive irrespective of the school they attend or the neighborhood they live in. Furthermore, there has to be a radical shift from training people for mere jobs to raising leaders; leaders who are bold enough to push the envelope.
After these leaders are raised, positions must be made available for them to do the work. The drive for social justice requires political inclusion. And not just a seat at the table, but an evaluation of the whole process of who decides what table we’re sitting at. There must be a robust feedback mechanism that strengthens current structures. Every voice counts and everyone deserves to be heard!
Having equal representation in politics will aid in controlling the narrative. Democracy was instituted to ensure that the voice of all people will be heard and that everyone will be well represented across the board. The reality of this vision will come as a result of a deliberate collective effort. Which will therefore impact various levels of society, including the criminal justice system, entertainment, sports, health care, fashion, education, and much more.
The actualization of the vision for social justice must involve a well-detailed strategy and clearly defined goals. Just like Rome was not built in a day, it will take time and sacrifice. This nation and the generations to follow need you and I to be bold and stand up for what is right. We must continue the narrative and make progressive steps to actualize the vision of social justice.
The vision that embodies Black realities and Black futures is awaiting your contribution. Just like no two puzzle pieces are the same, we need the different pieces to complete the puzzle.