Do you know what it feels like to be totally affirmed? For people who have lived a life of oppression in a society primarily designed to affirm those who are the oppressor, this is not a familiar feeling or experience. For many of us, our family is the only context in which we experience total affirmation. For some, regretfully, even the family does not provide this affirmation.
To grow into persons with the healthy self-esteem needed to become effective and successful individuals, we need to be affirmed. An inclusive society is one that affirms all who are a part of that society. This is a new concept to conceive because we have lived in a nation where the privileges of the dominant class have always brought about the disadvantage of all others from its inception. As we move rapidly toward a more diverse nation, where there will no longer be a dominant majority, it is essential for Black and Brown people to see themselves in a new and different light. We must begin to view ourselves as equals. We must start seeing ourselves as an essential and significant part of the whole and not as a minority. We must view ourselves for who and what we are -- one of the most politically and socially powerful groups to exist in this nation's history. We must see ourselves as the sustainers of the American economy and not as a small piece of the American pie.
Our communities, our organizations, and our institutions must become the context in which our people, and especially our children, are totally affirmed for who and what they are. We must move beyond the bigotry that has been inflicted upon us by the dominant culture. We must recognize the importance and necessity of accepting, affirming, and celebrating one another regardless of our inner-cultural differences. Above all else, we must love one another as Christ has loved us. It is only in doing this that we will be prepared to take our new place in American society, a place that has been forged on the foundation of four hundred years of labor and oppression.
Finally, we must all begin to see ourselves as beautiful, capable, talented, and gifted by God. We must see ourselves as the leaders that we are and have always been. We must see ourselves as a necessary constituent part of what will make this nation into the new America that it has never been before, that God has ordained it is to become.
Affirmed by God's Power,