This past week, we lost one of America’s most beloved and irreplaceable treasures: Julian Bond. While we mourn his passing and think of his countless contributions to society, I cannot help but wonder who in this generation — or in my generation — is going to, at the very least, ask for the baton? I do not know who Mr. Bond would have chosen to carry on his life’s work, or who would come close. However, I am perplexed at the amount of young people that will march for BlackLivesMatter, and other worthy causes that affect peoples’ lives and do not make that level of commitment as did one Mr. Julian Bond. There are so many issues in the 21st century that warrant his level of activism. Will you heed the call?
Those of us who were born in the late ’60s, owe an incredible debt to Mr. Bond and those who have made us the recipients of the liberties that we enjoy today. In my heart of hearts, I believe that Julian was put on this Earth not only to help guarantee these rights and freedoms, but also to show us all how this is a never-ending generational fight that does not stop until everyone can enjoy these rights and freedoms equally. His life personified excellence, education and selflessness. His tireless efforts for justice make us all observe in awe at the level of courage he possessed and what he endured during the most challenging of times during America’s ugliest period. Ask yourself, do you have a Julian Bond-level of fight in you?
What is that injustice that tugs at your heart strings or makes you angry? What will you do in the name of justice that you will carry with you for the rest of your life? Racism, income inequality, police brutality are only a few causes that have made national headline news as of late. However, your fight does not necessarily need to make the 11:00 p.m. news. Your community needs you to organize the neighborhood clean-up to help save the planet; the elementary school down the street needs you to read and mentor their students or volunteer your time to tutor a child having difficulty; there are homeless people who just need something to eat not money or liquor, but just some food. Can you fight for them? Can you empower or inspire them to fight as well? Julian Bond did all three. Against insurmountable odds, he made it seem effortless. He fought for equality and then empowered and inspired a nation to stand up and join the struggle. I may be wrong, and am certainly not a gambling woman, but I will bet that the words tired, difficult, or cannot never were part of Julian Bond’s vocabulary. Those of us who want to continue his legacy whether on a large or small scale should not make those words part of our vocabulary either. We now remember Julian Bond not only for his many efforts in making this a great country, but also his influence for future generations to keep this country great for all its people.