Straight Words

Black youth and the movement for reparations

By Richard B. Muhammad | Last updated: Nov 18, 2014 - 4:50:34 PM

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(FinalCall.com) - Reparations, redress for slavery and centuries of suffering, was a major part of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Holy Day of Atonement address in Jamaica last month.

It was also the topic when the Minister listened to scholars and spoke to students during the discussion “Revitalizing The Reparations Movement” at Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois earlier this year.

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In both messages the Minister spoke passionately and clearly about the Black plight and a willingness to confront the enemy to demand reparatory justice. “When you really think about those who went before us, and the price that they paid to put us where we are, the only thing that comes into my heart right now is to ask this question:  What kind of generation will we be to have ancestors that have gone through what our ancestors have gone through, and we’re sitting here today, talking about ‘the revitalization’ of a movement that should never have had to be revitalized,” said Min. Farrakhan in remarks at the Chicago State gathering.

The Minister has also stressed that the masses of the people must be connected with the struggle for reparations and when he comes to Morgan State University Nov. 22 to serve as keynote speaker for the Black United Summit International (BUSI) conference, it will be an excellent opportunity to acquaint Black students with this movement and the need for their involvement.

B.U.S.I. aims to connect students at historically Black colleges and universities and foster collaboration and leadership development at the institutions. It also strives to encourage students to create businesses, pursue education in a serious way for self-determination and, at Morgan State in Baltimore, connect with the reparations movement. “B.U.S.I. is following in the tradition of Real Change where ‘critical thinking’ can be kissed and hugged, as it should be,” said organizers of the upcoming weekend conference.

This is the second year in which the Minister has agreed to speak at the conference and has not asked for any payment. His sole desire is to speak to students.

The deaths of young Black males in recent years—from Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis in Florida to Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo.—is reigniting a consciousness among Black students and youth.

That consciousness, energy and determination has fed protests in Ferguson and nearby St. Louis for over 90 days and has drawn young people from around the country eager to connect with a movement for justice and progress for Black people.

The same energy and determination is needed in the fight for reparations. “We need unity with the people who want reparatory justice. We don’t need unity with collaborators and pacifiers, and people who want to talk it down when it should be talked up strong,” said Minister Farrakhan last spring at Chicago State University. “This means ‘division’ is going to have to come over reparatory justice:  Division before unity,” he said.

That division will come based on a new willingness to fight and new determination that Blacks in America, the Diaspora and Africa must go free. Our young people are the ones to lead us into this Promised Land, they just need the right cause and the right voice. Both will be present at Morgan State University on Nov. 21-22 and you should be there too.

(Richard B. Muhammad is editor in chief of The Final Call newspaper. He can be reached at editor@finalcall.com. Find him on Facebook at Richard B. Muhammad and follow him on Twitter: @RMfinalcall. He is also a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore.)

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