Publisher’s Note: Celebrate Freedom!

Celebrate Freedom
By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher
OhioMBE – July 1, 2014

50 years ago, the common theme for most African-Americans in the Summer of 1964 was to secure freedom for themselves and their families. Black folks wanted full American citizenship.  They peacefully demanded the right to vote, the opportunity to live where they wanted, economic equality and the right to send their children to good quality schools. Ironically, those same issues and struggles are still being fought 50 years later.  It’s true, much has been accomplished.  As we reflect on the courage, dignity and grace Black folks, young and old, demonstrated during the turbulent civil rights movement, I ask, “What does it mean today?”

What are you doing to ensure voting rights and economic and educational opportunities for the Black community?  We are beneficiaries of the sacrifices made during the 1960’s civil rights movement; the legacy of those who fought and died for the rights that we effortlessly enjoy today! Some of us are living out the hopes and dreams of the freedom fighters.  Many have been left behind and our communities are neglected.  Let’s commemorate Freedom Summer by making a commitment to empower our community and revitalize the aspirations of the freedom marchers.

There is a present day assault on the right to vote.   Voting is power.   Too much was done and many lives were lost for us not to be casting our ballots. Are you registered to vote?  Are you an informed voter?  Are you financially supporting organizations and political candidates who are advocating full access to the right to vote?  A small donation or gift of time is better than nothing.

Support Black businesses.  Aside from your barber or stylist, what Black businesses do you patronize regularly? Conduct business with Black businesses that employ Black people.  When Black owned businesses employ Black people, those pay checks support Black families.

Get involved in your local public school system.  Our children need us.   Volunteers are always needed. Go listen to a third grader read. Offer an internship in your business.  Our youth could use role models to show them that business ownership is possible.

Improving our communities… improves our future!  Make the vow to make a difference.

Just my thoughts…