By Norma Adams-Wade
Founding Member of the National Association of Black Journalist
Songster Sam Cooke promised us in his hopeful lyrics and haunting vocal rendition that “a change is gonna come.” “It’s been a long, a long time coming,” Cooke crooned, “But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.” By the same uplifting tone, before Barack Obama became our 44th POTUS (President of the United States), he gave the nation and the world a prescription for change and a better America in his best-selling book, The Audacity of Hope.
After George Floyd’s Memorial Day death under the cruel and heartless knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Floyd, gave the world a prophetic and proud declaration with no hint of doubt: “Daddy changed the world!” Gigi exclaimed as the media captured the moment and reported and broadcast it around the world. Gigi was giving her take on the astounding positive, global reactions as protesters took to the streets and individuals, businesses, and people at all levels of power began to reexamine and restructure their deep thoughts and operations related to racial issues.
I was just thinking…what do some of these signs of change look like? Here is just a summary list of untold changes that already has occurred in America and the world:
1. People demonstrating in our nation’s streets are far more diverse than ever before.
2. Supportive demonstrations in foreign countries are happening as never before.
3. Police departments are responding to community demands for police policy and procedure reforms—specifically halting chokeholds and excessive force.
4. More White people are discussing whether white privilege does or does not exist.
5. Diverse groups, though reluctantly, are opening up to discuss whether systemic racism exists.
6. Entertainers are apologizing for past skits where they wore black-face makeup that they now say they realize was offensive.
7. People generally seem more open to considering race-relation points athlete Colin Kaepernick attempted to make when he consistently knelt during the National Anthem, although still a divisive issue.
8. Kaepernick’s once-vilified take-a-knee gesture has become an accepted rallying symbol, even used in the halls of Congress.
9. Numerous corporations are airing consumer advertisements calling for racial unity.
10. Manufacturers are changing names of products that are deemed racially offensive.
11. Sports franchises are discussing more seriously what personal freedoms to allow players and teams.
12. Confederate statues, monuments, and portraits are being removed nationally as a way to avoid offending various ethnic groups. This, too, still is a divisive issue.
13. Leaders are listening to requests that the names of various buildings be changed because they honor ole south persons who many consider were racist.
14. The Black Lives Matter Movement seems less berated than before.
15. People of various races are wearing “I Can’t Breathe” and Black Lives Matter T-shirts that represent racial causes.
Cooke said a change’s “gonna come.” Gianna said the change has come. Let’s all do our part. Will you help?