Why Are We Still Fighting for Civil Rights?

 

In a perfect world, I would pen this and say “WE HAVE OVERCOME.” However, if we are all, to be honest with ourselves, we have not. As I sit in front of my computer and begin to write words that are either going to be celebrated or hated, I can’t help but ask the questions,

Why are we criticized for celebrating Black History Month?

Is there something wrong with wanting to know MY/OUR history?

Why don’t ALL schools acknowledge and celebrate Black History Month?

After all, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, Columbus Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and others.

In Louisiana’s Capital City, why are we so afraid of stimulating the economy in “North Baton Rouge?”

Why are we still creating school districts that simulate segregation?

Why in 2020 are we just hiring the First Black Female Louisiana State Police Captain?

This list of questions could go on forever. These questions burden me because I’m teaching my children that with hard work and dedication they can become anyone they want to be.  I want to believe this. I want to tell them that people will not lock their doors when they see them approach. I want to tell my son that the melanin in his skin won’t cause some people to automatically label him a “thug.” I want to tell my daughter that as a woman, a black woman, she will be able to be the CEO she was born to be (her initials are CEO).

I, then, begin to think of all of the reasons we have to keep fighting.

We have to keep fighting because we have not crossed the Finish Line. Just when we think we are about to cross, the ribbon is moved. We form rallies, we gain traction, we get closer, then the rules change. What does this mean? It means “Those who have the gold make the rules” (THIS is the Golden Rule). It goes without saying that we have been electing public officials based on who has the most money in their campaigns and not who is the most qualified for THAT position. We select public officials because of their party affiliation or promises that are made … not based on political platforms that could help all communities. As a result, we end up with leaders with their eyes on re-election and not reform! The “good leaders” we do have are remaining silent when in fact we need to speak out.

We keep fighting because injustices, racism, prejudice, discrimination, sexism, classism, etc. are still plaguing us. Our country is divided by race, gender, financial status, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, you name it. We will allow it to create division. We have no moral compasses, no compassion, no respect, and even those of us that believe in God have found ways to skate around doing what’s right.

So you see, the fight is not over …

As long as Black America is still underemployed, poverty continues to attack minority communities, food deserts still exist, women do not receive equal pay, black boys are placed on the school to prison pipeline in elementary school, corruption wins elections, black males are disproportionately receiving harsher sentences than their white counterparts for the exact same crimes, and minorities continue to choose between health insurance and putting food on the table … the fight will continue.

D'Andra Bradford Odom grew up in Jonesboro, LA. She swore to her parents that she would never live in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Texas. However, after completing a cooperative education assignment with IBM in Rochester, MN, she bravely returned to Louisiana to plant her roots. D’Andra earned a Bachelors from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA and a Masters from the rival school Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA. However, the rivalry only lasts for one Saturday in November, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. D’Andra has a strong passion for public policy, social justice, and cooking. Therefore, it is no surprised that this self-proclaimed foodie met her husband, Chef Brandon Odom while trying a new spot, and ultimately co-founded Odom’s Kitchen (eatwithodoms.com). Together D’Andra and Brandon have two amazing children, Josiah and Corrinne. Josiah is the gentle and compassionate little gentleman. While Corrinne marches to the beat of her own drum. One of the things she loves most about being in Louisiana is providing her children with access to three living great-grandparents. Additionally, D’Andra and Brandon enjoy entertaining friends and family through food and laughs. She considers it an added bonus to be able to share and interact with other moms in the area. As it turns out this North Louisiana native found her roots through love in South Louisiana. A badge she wears proudly.

8 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great conversation starter – people ARE going to either love it or hate it!! So here are my comments – love them or hate them…

    I pray as a people, we invest time and effort into healing and finding ourselves!! Figuring out our purpose as a people and live in that!! It wasn’t until maybe a couple of years ago when I realized the importance of this in my personal life. I do feel we must know our history and its important to understand it so we know and apply our individual strength and our collective power, but I gave up depending on somebody else (who literally stripped everything that was us from us) to teach that to our children.

    Relatively speaking, yes, we have come a long way!! I think we have to say that as honor to our ancestors and those that fought and continue to fight the good fight!! We must acknowledge how far we have come because that acknowledges the blood, sweat, and tears of those before us!! BUT, the fight is not, nor will it ever be, over!!!! Think about it, in your personal life, you will never get to a point (I hope not anyway) where you will say, “I am good, I think I will stop working to improve myself now.” No, it’s a continuous process.

    It is sad that, in 2020, it’s so blatantly obvious that there are still forces fighting to keep us down and behind. But, to me, that’s just a sign that they know what’s up too!! They know that we are great and when it’s all said and done we will prosper. They know the only way they have a chance at winning is to cheat with laws and appointed offices and hate. But, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    My prayer is that we love one another and take care of each other because we are all we got!!!

  2. My dearest Dee. You made my ♥️ smile. Never stop writing the truth. My prayer is that one day, we will ALL live together as [The Human Race].

  3. Thank you D’Andra for being bold and writing this article! It’s a reminder to me to continue pursuing justice and equality for ALL and a reminder to not be afraid of saying things that may make people feel uncomfortable. These questions are relatable and ones I’ve asked (silently) to myself growing up in Baton Rouge.

  4. Great read, Dee! I agree with every word! We are in a constant battle to reach the finish line and have to remain diligent in chasing it. We can’t stop, we can not afford to stop. We also need our younger parents to be accountable in helping rear our young kings and queens to know that they have to give and build to help us conquer the inequality or past efforts will be futile.

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