“The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.”
– Malcolm X
Agree with the man or not, the words are accurate and—more importantly—still very relevant in both general society and discretely in the secular community. We have many that have opened their eyes and escaped religious dogmatisms and ideologies, yet when it comes to the overall human condition (inequality, nonprivileged disadvantages, education disparities, violence, and too many “-ies and -isms” to count), we remain silent. We are too often mired in conversation that debates movement—yet rarely provokes action.
I’m big into education. Along with headstrong caregivers, it helped keep me off Brooklyn street corners. I’m also big into activism, because sometimes you need to take your message to the streets. I am the son of a single mother who was a community activist, union organizer, feminist Haitian immigrant, and a woman who worked overtime to send me to private schools (Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, and Lutheran, oh my). She also handed me my first picket sign when I was six. Admittedly, too young.This blog, I hope, meets at the intersection of education and activism—where we talk, then do. I often speak about movement because even the smallest of actions can sometimes affect change. Maybe we dialog, debate a little, but at the end—someone is inspired to “do something”—even if only to teach another.
I don’t suffer hero worship—especially in the secular community. I shed my religious idolatry years ago. I don’t hold much sacred, so I’d expect some of you may get a little angry. That’s OK, because I will too. Properly motivated passion is good and sometimes it takes a strong emotion to wake people up. Many of our ideas, stereotypes, and distorted self-imagery needs to be challenged—I will not be right about everything. But accept that sometimes we all, even an entire population or movement within, can be categorically wrong. They say the pen is mightier than the sword—well, I’ve got a can of paint—let’s see what we can do.
Welcome to the Graffiti Wall.