I was at Occupy Cal last week and of the 2,500 students protesting on campus I saw less than 2 dozen young African American males. At the Howard University March for Jobs and Justice last week almost no Howard University students were in attendance. Certainly there have been some strong pockets of African American support for the movement that basically encapsulates our 400 year struggle, but the question still remains – in this time of marching for jobs, rights and equality where are the young African American men?
According to the Howard University Student Association President, Brandon Harris, Howard students had other “priorities” that had to be addressed. Quoted in The Hilltop, the Howard University student newspaper, Harris stated "It's not that we don't support the cause," Harris said. "We really had to focus our attention on something else at the time."
All over the country the Occupy protests have struck a chord with workers, union members, the unemployed, housewives and even corporate executives. In recent weeks the movement has gained considerable traction among students and has been buoyed by police misconduct on campuses to include UC Berkeley and UC Davis (the pepper spray shot seen around the world). What is disturbing is that these college protests are largely absent of African Americans. I am all for anyone holding a picket sign that says “End Racism”, “We Need Affirmative Action”, “Lower College Tuition” or “We Need Jobs”, but why aren’t more brothers and sisters holding those signs?
The revolution is always in the hands of the young and I fear that too many of the African American youth have decided not to fight. In stark contrast to the Civil Rights movement young black men are not on the front lines in 2011 and in many cases not even on the battlefield. If we want change we must participate, whether it is politically or through protest.
Occupy Cal woefully absent of African American young men and women
I hope that my eyes have deceived me at Occupy Cal and in the media images I see of other campuses. I know that there are some African American students who are participating, and I would like nothng better than to have a million African American students comment on this article and say I am way out of touch. If I am not wrong however then please share this article, tell a friend, or tell a stranger – "the revolution is here and we need you".
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