It’s the verdict people were waiting for from coast to coast. Some 25 million watched to see where things would come down regarding the death of George Floyd. The jury turned in a guilty verdict for the case. As the judge read the counts which surprised many, folks wondered if it was justice or a first step at accountability.
While that news story left many feeling hopeful, there was another event that brought a different kind of exhilaration. It was happening on Mars where NASA engineers made history with the first ever flight of an aircraft on the far-out planet. The plan was to have the helicopter (named Ingenuity) fly a little higher on each test flight.
Whether from a social change, American Dream or community empowerment perspective, See America In Color (SAIC) as a social-edge campaign/platform is focused on reaching new heights as well. With the launch of Friday Night Flights and a 7-part series of panels, each event has been like a ‘test flight’ in civic engagement, with one panel left to go.
A takeaway so far relates to this question: “Have we become a culture where we spend so much more money/energy on pushing social grievances than on pushing civic goals that help people better understand the issues?” A deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks reveals that cultural divide issues have always existed. They’ve been used to drum-up some economic or political advantage by one party over the other, at times with white supremacy as a backdrop. Examples include the Three-fifths Clause, Indian Removal Act and Chinese Exclusion Act.
The cultural divide in today’s traditional and social media worlds has become such an undercurrent for raging waves of discontent, distrust and disinformation. We see it in restrictive voting laws being passed across the country. We see it with incidents of hate against Asian-Americans. We see it in police involved shootings in certain communities that leave more questions than answers. In some ways the cycle continues. So as we respond to post-election drama, the pandemic and social justice concerns, SAIC is readying a set of ‘Back to Life Better’ initiatives bringing fresh hope and clear vision for a new day where:
- Social grievances become civic goals
Think back to that scene in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’ where Jack Nicholson’s character says to Tom Cruises’ character, “you can’t handle the truth.” Listen for another minute or so later in the clip and you’ll hear where Nicholson explains that statement by saying to Cruise, “I don’t care what you feel you’re entitled to.” Nowadays, the ‘social grievance brigade’ who are not interested in civic goals, are those with a bad sense of entitlement about civic/social issues. SAICs take on civic goals is to build on the idea of ‘We the People’ who can handle the truth.
2. Local protests become higher purpose
What triggered America’s founding was later guided by a higher purpose. The Constitution’s preamble of “We the people in order to form a more perfect Union” gives the higher purpose. These days what we find is social grievance being used to feed the cultural divide as opposed turned into a higher purpose. How else do you explain the events of January 6th where a local rally morphed into attacking the Capitol of democracy and gaslighting America? With SAIC we’re using talents and gifting to achieve a higher level of citizenship. Alexander Hamilton used his gift of writing during the Revolution and after the Constitutional Convention. Harriet Tubman used her gift of discernment with the Underground Railroad.
3. Civics education becomes greatness in action
Thomas Jefferson, even with his many contradictions seems to affirm the importance of civics education. He’s quoted as saying “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate power of the society than the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion through education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” The value of civics education helps to address constitutional abuses and cultural biases. Plus, as we make civics count, we help America’s greatness in action shine through the ultimate power in society as informed and engaged citizens.
4. Recurring problems become better solutions
When our car has a flat, the first thing to do is change the tire. Most cars today come with a reduced-size spare tire called a ‘donut’. You’re allowed to run on the donut but at slower speed. You can drive for a while but not forever. The donut is an emergency fix to a problem. Eventually you have to replace the flat tire. With civic/social issues, have you ever wondered why when some things change, they seem to remain the same? Maybe the recurring problems need to go beyond an emergency fix. They need better solutions like SAIC has to offer, which is more than just a catchy name or marketing slogan.
Will you join us in the effort to make civics count? We’ll be stepping up our civic game by rolling out new initiatives at school, work and community. The verdict might be in, but the question is whether the fix is in. It will take ‘We the People’ using civic goals to operate with a higher purpose. For some, the thing that might hold us together could be a matter of faith or getting past some fear or striving to achieve certain firsts or just pressing on in the fight for equal justice under the law. So folks, speak now!
You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.
Tracks: H.E.R. & Tauren Wells – Hold Us Together – https://youtu.be/TwqU78VEmNc
Leslie Odom Jr – Speak Now – https://youtu.be/ZvnPEMW1jj8