Today commemorates the 51st anniversary of Malcolm X's Assassination. He would've been 90 this year. He would've seen his six children grow up. He would've seen his grandchildren, and maybe even great grand children. He may have stayed in New York, or moved back to Omaha.
We don't know how he would have lived out the rest of his life, but we do know one thing; the world would not be the same.
We don't know how long we have to make a difference, and we don't know what kind of difference we'll be making in the long run. We're so fragile, but the difference we make is powerful enough to break through mountains and enter the hearts of billions. We can change the world, but we can also be killed by a bullet, a fall, a cold, and a billion other ways. Sometimes that change happens while we're alive, other times it happens the moment our bodies hit the ground. Other times it takes decades for our voices to be heard.
We simply do not know. Looking around, it's easy to see why we'd fear the death of our bodies. We have been chained for so long that the mere thought brings back aches and pains that we never even knew existed. For a long time, like millions around me, I felt this fear. Not because I fear death, no. The fear of losing our bodies is not the same as the fear of death. The fear of death is something that every one of us will experience at one point or another. Death is a part of life, and understanding it is key to unlocking a life of wellness. But the fear of losing our bodies is only detrimental. It exists when we realize there's a danger of being oppressed even after death. When Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and all the other victims were executed by those that had vowed to protect them, they were not only abandoned and betrayed, but they were also oppressed after their death. We took their justice away from them, and even in death we questioned their innocence and continued to oppress them. That is a danger many of us fear. We are taught from a very young age that life is hard, that oppression is something that we can expect, but oppression in death- that's not something we were warned about.
When we remember the dead, it's easy to feel ashamed for not being able to finish their work. Racism is still well. It resides in every city and street today, like it did fifty years ago. It's easy to think that we weren't enough, that we weren't able to fix it. But fixing it was never our real job. So many of us believe that we won't see a day when this world is at peace, where there is no oppression and injustice. We might not live to see that day, but that's not the point. It's not our responsibility to make others hate less. That's their responsibility. Our responsibility is to make sure WE treat others right. And, yes, we will fight and stand up to anyone not treating someone right, but that's on them. We have liberated ourselves, learned to fight injustice, and lived lives filled with the best of values and ethics. We have built a beautiful culture and live in the way that we were intended to live. We are all oppressed in one way or another, the greatest oppression is the one we deal ourselves. We oppress ourselves, losing our power to change, to love, to be. We lose the power to participate in the creation of a peace filled world. When you stand up for what's right you liberate yourself from that oppression. So even if we don't "fix it," we have succeeded in a way that our oppressors never will, until oppression ends.