Thirty-five football players of color stood united against the inaction of the president of the University of Missouri. One student even proclaimed his readiness to die. These young people were incensed about the indifference their university president demonstrated toward the rash of racist incidents that had occurred at the university.
The two words that could define these young people’s victory are “united” and “sacrifice.” They had no idea what the outcome of their stance would be. They didn’t know if the politics of that community would protect and justify the actions, or in actions, of University President Tim Wolf. Or they were not certain if the chancellors would simply cancel the season, pay the fines and launch a massive recruitment effort to replace them.
Jonathan Butler didn’t know if the administrators would simply allow him to proceed with his one-man hunger strike and craft a spin on his death as suicide. They didn’t know if their scholarships, grants and loans would be forfeited. These young men of color simply knew one thing for sure: the time had come for them to do what their ancestors did and stand for something larger than themselves and remain united.
These young men should serve as role models for any modern day activist who proclaims they are concerned about the social injustices within the St. Petersburg and Pinellas community. Within Pinellas County, five schools have been identified as failing to educate black children. If this doesn’t qualify as one of the most egregious social injustices in modern times, I don’t know what does.
However, when one moves around the community it’s as if it’s business as usual. The church parking lots are somewhat filled on Sundays. The football fields are still filled Mondays through Thursdays and all day Saturday. The Facebook traffic is still alive and well as we contemplate the next episodes of “Empire.”
If we are to ever achieve the results these young men achieved within just three days, we must steal a page from their playbook. We must become unified and be willing to make sacrifices, recognizing that the outcomes are uncertain. Particularly for those leaders who profess the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. All that you would need to do is turn to the book that you claim guides Christian living, the Bible.
Genesis 28:15: Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything.
Matthew 6: 33, 34 Do not be anxious about the next day
Matthew 10:28: And do not fear those who can only kill the body, but be in fear of Him who can destroy both body and soul.
There are a lot more. But those are the ones I recall at this moment. There is nothing the Lord Jesus Christ cannot do!
#Reunited, Revived & Recommitted!
~ Maria L. Scruggs, President | St. Petersburg Branch NAACP