As a social service worker, is there a reason for me to be scared, pissed off or hopeless in a world where the government is looking to make huge budget cuts to social welfare programs such as healthcare for needy citizens, free food programs, grants/scholarships and even raising the interest rate for those with student loans? As someone who has student loan debt from college, and who works in a community serving those who are hugely dependent on social welfare programs and that have kids who depend on free lunches every day in the community center, no, I’m not freaked out.
I understand that the government feels these programs are unnecessary, they don’t see these people every day, they don’t live in these communities and they are looking at numbers not needs. They want people to be self-sufficient and I could agree with that, but bottom line is, I am being affected and the faces I see every day are being affected. The main reason I’m not freaked out is because WE are here. WE can take care of our own communities, we can take charge in the areas that they refuse to.
In Oakland, the Black Panthers brought a new message of self-determination. The message caught on and their programs quickly spread to black communities across the country, tired of waiting to be saved or treated with equity.
By the end of 1969, the Black Panthers were serving full free breakfasts (including milk, bacon, eggs, grits, and toast) to 20,000 school aged children in 19 cities around the country, and in 23 local affiliates every school day.
Forbes says that most of the funding for the program came from donations from within the communities being served. “We got support from local stores, churches, and groceries,” Forbes says. The Panthers believed in the importance of education, and of kids showing up at school full and ready to learn, he says.
Full story here: Black Panthers: Free Breakfast Pioneers
If that doesn’t prove the beauty and power of people taking charge of their own communities I don’t know what does. The Black Panther Party also developed more than 60 other social service organizations that handled the very things our government is making cuts to now. We have the answers and the resources to take care of things ourselves. We are not victims and we are not oppressed, even though the world wants us to be. We are educated, strong, creative, passionate, compassionate, gritty, and we may be beautiful with the demeanor of divas but we have the hearts of SOLDIERS.
Whatever it is that this world doesn’t care about, but you do…don’t feel attacked, don’t feel oppressed. Instead feel challenged and empowered to do something. This must be your time to act. This must be the reason you were created…for such a time as this (Come on, grab your bible and read the book of Esther). We are equipped with our expensive ass degrees and/or summa cum laude in street knowledge, social media platforms, creative ideas, connects to so many resources, brain power to think of new ideas, grit to get it done and beautiful faces as the icing on top. Do not be discouraged, take this as a message to get up, wipe your tears and get ACTIVE. So…what is it that you are gonna be an answer to in your community and who are you gonna pull alongside you to help you get it done?
As always check out the Diva Directory to see organizations that are already alive and active and join forces with them. If you don’t see anyone doing what you know needs to be done or the way you feel it needs to be done, CREATE IT YOURSELF. Diva Demeanor can assist you the ENTIRE way, it is not as hard as you think. Let’s change the world.