Who’s ready for the call? Well, it depends on whether you watch the Superbowl for the commercials, the halftime show, the game itself or some combo. After a teaser on social media, the halftime show’s producers were hyping it as the best 12-minute music collab on stage. That’s less than a quarter in football play, with this year’s unexpected matchup between a newbie QB and one who reinvented himself.
Meantime, for SAIC there’s something else brewing off the field with prizes to handout. We’re calling all “Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, Gen Everybody” for what’s described as a Civic Life Tournament. After a recent preview of our 2022 “Field of Dreams”, this rollout brings three social challenge contests that will empower students and communities to blaze a trail in dreams, roots & culture. It’s about how we make history fun, civics fresh and culture feel-good to bridge social/cultural divides.
Over the past few years, we’ve dealt with pandemic, protests and post-elections drama. These have highlighted some sticky civic/social issues past and present. In addition, we hear news stories about the Supreme Court candidate ‘short list’, the Electoral Count Act, college admissions criteria, banning certain topics in K-12 education and voting rights rollback. We wonder why we still can’t figure this out. SAIC’s deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks reveal the root causes being due to America’s pitfalls like:
- Turning self-evident truths into ‘hypocrisy on ice’.
- Letting seeds of prejudice grow into trees of racism with fruits of inequality and hate.
- Debating Affirmative Action without noting discrimination and representation.
- Falling prey to the ‘snowflake syndrome’.
The ‘snowflake syndrome’ is the newest way of folks trying to ‘unsee’ history. Think about going to the doctor’s office and filling-out the new patient form. They want to know if you suffer from any allergies or past health issues in your family background. The reason is so you can get sound medical advice on things to watchout for in diet, medication, etc. Even-though some stuff might be uncomfortable to hear as a patient, the doctor can’t fall prey to having only a limited view of your medical history. So why should students and citizens not learn aspects of American history as if they’re allergic to black history or it makes them somewhat uncomfortable? Isn’t the info needed towards our social well-being as a nation?
That’s what SAIC’s ‘smart civics’ framework brings to the mix. It does so like a doctor meeting with a new patient. Plus, it’s about how we move from an outdated to an updated view of things like when we went from black & white TV to color or mobile phones from OG to 5G. This includes understanding what black history might mean for a 2026 America when the country will celebrate 250 years of independence. SAIC adds ‘smarts’ to civics education for next level content that opens our eyes to the:
1. Framers of Freedom – Frederick Douglass & Harriet Tubman
The founding fathers were ‘framers of freedom’ in forming the United States. But those like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were framers too. He sought the abolition of slavery and she led the ‘underground railroad’ for freedom from the south. For both, freedom was less about personal self-interest and more about greater good for blacks and the nation. In other words, one view of freedom was focused on becoming a sovereign nation while the other was on how we live-up to personal, cultural and civic ideals. Even if freedom has self-interest, when broadened it’s about “E Pluribus Unum” in higher purpose.
2. Stompers of Hate – Mamie Till Mobley & Ida B. Wells
What would cause people to host a watch-party for blacks being lynched? Or to celebrate the beating of Emmett Till? Hard to imagine this happened when you think of the excitement in watching a major event on TV today. Mobley didn’t want America to ‘unsee’ what happened to her son. So even-though he was brutalized his funeral was open casket. Ida B. Wells decided she was going to put lynching on blast. As a journalist she wrote stories that helped to make America see its history in real time. Then as now, acts of hate against Blacks, Asians, Jews and other groups are tied to those stuck on ignorance, poor self-love and fear. Is that the kind of America we want to keep repeating?
3. Movers of Culture – Rosa Parks & Bob Marley
First there was Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery Alabama bus. She didn’t want folks to view her as second-class just because she was black. Nine months later Rosa Parks took a similar stand which helped set-off the Montgomery bus boycott. Bob Marley made music that moved people across the globe. In one song he chants “keep your culture, don’t be afraid of the vulture. Grow your dreadlocks, don’t be afraid of the wolfpack.” SAIC has tweaked those words in saying to America “Grow your culture towards inclusion. Don’t be afraid of the backtrackers.”
4. Changemakers of Civil Rights – Bayard Rustin & Dr Martin Luther King Jr
The first round of changemakers in the 1800s helped usher in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Those weren’t enough to steer the ship so the civil rights movement of the 40s, 50s and 60s helped forge three key laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 dealt with discrimination in employment, commerce and public service. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 dealt with voter suppression and subversion at the polls. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 dealt with roadblocks to home-buying. Bayard Rustin played a key role as part of the LGBTQ behind-the-scenes. He was also instrumental in planning the March on Washington in 1963 where Dr King made his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. So what’s the focus of our next gen changemakers?
It helps to figure-out whether certain things in history were a feature or flaw. For example, some saw the Three-Fifths Compromise as a feature to hold on to slavery and the benefit of reduced ‘property taxes’ since blacks were treated as property and couldn’t vote. Some wanted the ‘added-value’ of govt funding that comes with higher population from counting blacks in society. But the Compromise dehumanized them as three-fifth human, which made the law a flaw. So today we gotta ask, “Is the Senate’s Filibuster rule the new Three-Fifths Compromise (it requires 60 of 100 i.e. 3/5 vote) a feature or flaw in how’s it’s applied?” If we’re looking for a better way of life and to protect voting rights it might be time for change!
You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2022” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.
Tracks: Post Malone Ft Khalid – Time for Change – https://youtu.be/5gtXnUeJ9UE
Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation – https://youtu.be/OAwaNWGLM0c