“In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest gift possible gift a more human face.”
— STEVE BIKO
Steve Biko was a South African anti-apartheid activist whose charisma and writing abilities brought him to the forefront of his country's quest for freedom in the 1970s. As the father of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa, his strident words ignited a generation that yearned to be free from the internal and external shackles that denied them the basic tenants of what they needed to be human. Not simply Black, but human.
As we stand on the precipice of the most consequential election of our lives, "we the people" are adjoined to reconsider the interrelated and interconnected nature of our own frail humanity. We too must summon up the courage to vote in ways that provide for all of our children to be human. To choose compassionate enough persons to cultivate policies and legislation that convene spaces where their zip code does not saddle one's innate potential. Young people who live in poor cities and on farms where more than 95% are participants in a free lunch program. America's children need champions and this election is our opportunity to fill that void. To make America human again.
Never have our choices been so stark. Clear visions, pathways, and even directions have been articulated from candidates vying for our vote. Thus far in this election cycle, we have already witnessed record turnouts in early voting, and reliable political scientists say the energy surge on Election Day will only be outrivaled by the unprecedented number of votes actually cast. Yet, I wonder how many of us have voted and will vote with our feet on the shoulders of our ancestors, and our hearts aligned with a generation wrestling with its identity as much as they are their imagination. A future yearning for hope and to be heard simultaneously. A future yearning to be human.
Even the best laid out and thoughtful programs are constructed and managed by persons who have had to endure the behemoth of 2020. Grants and mentors are not finite ways to guarantee success, let alone normalcy. Our choice in this election should allow us to lean into persons who are acutely aware of their limitations but ever mindful of symbolism. Perfection should not be a prerequisite, but pre-tense should be an immediate disqualifier. Now more than ever before, those who represent us must articulate and lead persons on towards authenticity. Celebrities and athletes with cultivated product-placed narratives often offer up narratives void of what is essentially necessary to be human. We need more.
Let us vote and align ourselves with candidates who possess enough courage to daringly embed their social media personas with who they really are. People who cry and cuss along with confronting depression while fighting daily for real inspiration. Candidates who have evolved on issues because they were curious enough to want to know more. Candidates who are people that actually like people. Current partisan rancor forces our children to pick intangible civic fruits remaining on a global economy's barren trees. They need us.
Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. Let us choose to be inspired by someone who not only espouses those ideals but, in whose life, embodies them as well. Vote tomorrow from your aspirations instead of the real fear of what "we" may already become. Vote.
Humanity is on the ballot. Choose it. Our children are watching.