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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Channeling Malcolm X

Before he was El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, he was Malcolm X. And before he was Malcolm X, he was known on the streets of Harlem, as Detroit Red. I discuss him this day with respect and with relevance to you and I today.
When I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X four years ago, I didn't expect to read what I read and found in those pages, but I found it touched & shaped me as a woman - as a Brown woman - as a Brown woman who was becoming aware of her Self and her place in the world.
I read the story of a boy who was so caught up with the 'dog eat dog' that he was lost in the world wind of it. He sold drugs, he pimped, he robbed, and he went to jail - only to find hisSelf in jail.
Malcolm was more than a preacher for the Nation of Islam, he was a teacher to us all. What I loved about Malcolm's story is that he didn't shy away from the truth of who he was and as he changed, he was not afraid to say he'd been changed. He was not afraid to call out the evils of the world after he'd seen himself though those evils. He was not afraid to say what needed to be said although he was well aware that it might cost him family, friends, and his life. He looked back at his hustle on the streets of Harlem, not with embarrassment or apologies, but with purpose and understandings & helped me see my self in my hood and then took me on an international journey of discovery.
The changes that are happening in ourSelves and in our communities of color are again at odds with the status quo- just like they were when Malcolm hit the streets and started talking to the people about it. He never made excuses, he found reason.
Today, as our skin tone & our very existence as gente of color- Black & Brown- has come under attack by laws like Arizona's SB 1070 & Houston's 287G, it's that much more important to take responsibility for our past, learn from that and our present, and make moves with pride in our Selves for the future.
....And if you haven't read The Autobiography of Malcolm X or don't know too much about who he is, do yourself the favor---> you can start here.
Many people are trying to figure out how to make real change happen - I learned through Malcolm that it starts by arming yourself with knowledge- through books and the street- and then taking what you learn & discussing it with those you love- that's how you build community. That's how you reach the youth.
Malcolm did & said everything he did & said because he loved his people & who he was because of who he had been. Channel that...by any means necessary.

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