My Wish List for 2015 (Or Until We Get It Right…)

Yes, it’s that time again – the beginning of a new year. As we are all aware, this is the time of year when we each decide to make changes, or resolutions, in our individual lives for the better. They may include, but often are not limited to, lose weight, maintain an overall healthier lifestyle, pursue a change in career, find that special someone, build and sustain positive relationships, etc. Some of us actually keep our resolutions. Others don’t.

Still, we persist in identifying needed changes, or resolutions, out of an unwavering sense of hope that a new year brings. With that said, I am listing my desired changes, or wishes. Instead of listing my desired changes for myself as an individual, I am listing my wishes, or needed changes, for the betterment of the collective.

  1. Acknowledge and Cease “Jump Outs” – Recently, I read an article highlighting the police actions popularly known as “jump-outs” in the District of Columbia. In the article, District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier referred to them as the “fantasy jump outs.” Rather than acknowledge that they indeed occur in a disproportionate manner in predominantly black areas of the city, she framed the actions as tactics used by police officers to combat high drug trafficking areas. This would be plausible except for the fact that far too many Howard University students are familiar with “jump-outs” as a result of their own experiences. While attending Howard University as a doctoral student, I, myself, was ensnared in a “jump-out” while simply turning off of the campus in my car to go celebrate with one of my classmates who had successfully defended their thesis earlier that day. Several other Howard University students were stopped, made to get out of their vehicle, and searched. Nothing was found. Ironically, when mentioning the issue of “jump-outs” to my students in upper northwest, they had never heard of “jump-outs.” I wonder why?
  2. Increase the Minimum Wage in All 50 States – It seems that a sizable proportion of states are planning to raise the minimum wage. However, wouldn’t it be great if we raised the minimum wage across the board?  This could be just one step towards minimizing the enormous wealth gap that pervades this country that prides itself on being the greatest in the world…
  3. Provide Quality Health Care to All Persons – The Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) was a landmark legislation that facilitates health care coverage, and thus, access to care to millions who previously were without health care. (However, countless persons remain without health care coverage.) Even those persons with health care coverage are not guaranteed quality health care. Hurdles to quality care, including but not limited to cultural incompetence, continue to impact the care received by low-income persons, women, and/or racial and ethnic minorities.
  4. Expand Inclusiveness Among National Political Representation – We recently heralded the number of women elected to the national legislative body. However, national politics continues to be dominated by those who do not exactly reflect the growing diversity within the United States.  After all, the U.S. Census Bureau released statistics displaying the exponential growth of racial and ethnic minorities. Now, that is not to say that a person’s race or ethnicity automatically qualifies them to be a leader. However, a person’s lived experience is often influenced by their individual demographics, and our lived experience often shapes the lens through which we view social and political issues that impact our daily lives. Wouldn’t it be awesome if those who are sent to address the issues pertinent to the general citizenry actually be able to identify with and articulate the issues imperative to the general citizenry? Again, just a thought…
  5. Continue to Identify Ways to Make College More Affordable – A few colleges have identified ways to make college more affordable for middle- and low-income students. A college education is almost required in order to obtain a well-paying job and achieve the “American Dream.” This too could be a step towards minimizing the wealth gap…

Last But (Definitely) Not Least…

6.   Recognize the Humanity of All Children – The untimely deaths of children of color is incredibly heart-wrenching. (As I sit here and write this, I have tears forming in my eyes…) Despite this, the deaths, or killings, of innocent children continue. Far too often, as I have contended before, the innocence of children of color is obscured by their neighborhood location, stereotypes related to such locations, and the assumed associations and actions of their relatives. Why not live up to our assertion that all are created equal with the unalienable right of life?

Happy New Year!

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