Functioning Revolutionary: What are you doing for others? By Charlie Costict

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As each day passes we are given the options to either contribute to progress or indulge in the illusion of neutrality via inaction. Somehow, we underestimate the power of conversation, dissemination of historical information or the domino effect of representation. Unknowingly to some, every post we like, share or reblog is revolutionary. Our attempts to disrupt social conditioning through open dialogue and imagery combined with exposure to large audiences creates a powerful weapon in the fight against social injustice. In this Digital Age, we are constantly in search of just that, information, information we weren’t always privy to. Just as slaves learned to read and write, they would teach others creating a wave of thirst in this newfound enlightenment for more knowledge. Fast forward to current day, news is poured in abundance onto the masses to match the speed of consumption with either the intent to build or destroy propaganda as we constantly sift for the truths.

In the last few years, Black America has been repeatedly triggered by viral videos of racially charged killings thanks to social media which sheds the mirage of a post-racial society. Racism in all its forms remains an everchanging, ever-adapting super disease and its symptoms induce what one could call a Black knowledge revolution of sorts. It’s within these past few years that many folk including myself learned more about Black history, culture, politics and racism than ever before thanks to social media which prompted this “knowledge thirst”. We started seeing more Black people decolonizing their minds and falling in love with their Blackness. Celebrities(some) joined in on the fight and added to the popularity of embracing our culture and pride by way of music, art and cinema, entrepreneurial endeavors as well as humanitarian efforts. We picked up books and read articles, watched documentaries and had talks with our parents discussing this transgenerational trauma. We are or have went through the stages of consciousness from disbelief and grief to anger and depression searching for answers while others choose to remain apolitical.

I think for some, the thought of fighting against oppression seems overwhelming and rightfully so however it’s probably embedded in minds that their activism must be frontline. Perhaps it should be stressed that a multitude of things can be revolutionary and pivotal towards progress. Civil rights activists weren’t all MLK Jrs or Malcolm Xs or an Angela Davis but also painters, photographers, dancers, writers, musicians, students, athletes, etc. Many have hundreds to thousands of followers on social sites without realizing that one post can change a thought, two posts can change a mind and multiple posts can change a life. We express our disdain, anger, frustration and contempt through social commentary daily, others through art and music. A simple share of an honest article is a form of revolution in a country that discourages dissent from the propaganda wheel. Economic boycotts create waves without one having to give up a job or their safety including their family. Signing petitions, donating to sincere causes, promoting productive movements and joining meetings is revolutionary. In a world, full of greed and violence, it was our leaders of the past who showed true altruism for the sake of the future. This shows the importance of kids seeing us making a change because inaction affects not only their character but also their lives. Given our current economy and living costs it isn’t realistic that everyone can afford to march the streets or protest peacefully for days to weeks on end. Picking up a book can change your life……writing one can change others. Deciding you don’t agree with status quo is a spark for revolution and with enough spark you can ignite change. People in general underestimate their influence and overestimate the control others have over them.

When you look at Civil Rights activists, many coming from varying backgrounds, addressing intersectional issues unique to them and others showed that everyone had a place in the fight against equality. We find empowerment in education, practicing self-love and creating conversations that discuss social and racial progress and where to go from here. It all matters from tweet rants to reinvesting the Black dollar into the community, pro-Black music and especially how we talk to one another. Demanding equal representation in these magazines, TV shows and movies meanwhile holding our own folks accountable when their actions detract from progress are all necessary contributions. I feel many just haven’t looked outside themselves to what’s going on around them perhaps out of fear or ridicule and just HOPE that things fix themselves. It’s something to be said when Black people are scared to love themselves and appear pro-Black. Honestly many (including allies) probably look back in history and think certain things just “fixed themselves”. What really created change was people deciding they want to contribute to something bigger out of a sense of community, love and respect. What we need more of is……. functioning revolutionaries.