President Obama and his family walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama with hundreds of participants on Saturday, March 7, 2015. They took the symbolic walk across the bridge to remember the foot soldiers, facing law enforcement with clubs, dogs, horses, and tear gas. It is heart breaking to see the fifty year-old black and white video of men, women, and children, bit by the dogs, trampled by horses, beaten by law enforcement, left bleeding, and broken. Watching the first African American President of the United States walk alongside Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who was one the foot soldiers leading the march fifty years ago; adds to a prophetic symbolism of hope transpired through the relentless struggle witnessed through the foot soldiers participating on that horrible event called, Bloody Sunday.
Eric Holder, our first African American Attorney General, spoke eloquently at Brown Chapel with hints to the masses that the struggle continues. As the voting rights act, section 5, to protect minority voters is revisited by Congress; Attorney General Holder reminds us that these issues of injustice must be addressed. Similar to the actions of those foot soldiers walking across that bridge in Selma, Alabama; the new foot soldiers in Ferguson, Missouri and across the country, must peacefully pick up the baton and continue to initiate change. While supporters prepared for the historic event, the national news broadcasts the police shooting of another unarmed youth this weekend; and millions of Americans enrolled in healthcare face the unknown as the United States Supreme Court examines the constitutional aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Watching and listening to the speakers at the Selma event, the overriding message for one is the resounding recognition of self. We must look ourselves in the mirror and ask have I made a difference. Would I have the courage to stand like the foot soldiers did on Bloody Sunday?
The National Association of African American Owned Media INAAAOM) and Entertainment Studios Networks, Incorporated, allegedly filed a lawsuit against Comcast, MSNBC, Time Warner Cable, Al Sharpton, and other nonprofit African American organizations for $20 billion. Although African American media and entertainers have been excluded from expansion and recognized as Global and Emmy Award worthy, there are several accomplishments one should note as a glimmer of light. MSNBC has introduced a few hosts of color in the past few years. Tamron Hall, Reverend Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris Perry, Toure and Joy Reid. The Chicago Tribune writer Eugene Robinson and Jonathan Capehart are frequent guests on various MSNBC shows. Each host has enlightened viewers in their own way or style, to convey various urban issues related to the plight of African Americans. Some people may view Reverend Al Sharpton as a media hogging pimp. Others recognize his contributions to the urban community and social media outlets as a refreshing and invigorating foot soldier helping to open the door to acceptance and change for future media hosts. What the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have to remember is from whence we came. They have to remember that baby steps are better than one not able to walk at all. Reverend Al Sharpton and those entities that assisted to elevate him to a higher platform through the media is a reminder of how one must learn the basics in an effort to master the stride. So from one African American struggling media outlet to another, keep striving for upward mobility by not bashing those that have established a financial stronghold through favoritism or whatever the case may be. Perhaps the lawsuit will put a spotlight on others who are deemed worthy to those powerful entities who make the decisions on whether or not to broadcast. In the meantime, the resounding message is to continue the struggle. Look how long it took Google to add ethnic Emojis to the mix. By the way, congratulations to Lester Holt for holding down the fort on the Nightly News on NBC! The struggle continues. Change will come.
National Association of African American Owned Media, (2015). Complaint. Retrieved from http://www.naaaom.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Comcast-Sharpton-Complaint.pdf