IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

#JusticeOrElse …Or Else, What? (Pt 2)

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Photo credit: Brendan Norwood-Pearson, Junior at American University’s College of Arts and Science

Photo credit: Brendan Norwood-Pearson, Junior at American University’s College of Arts and Science

When we cried out “justice or else,” at the Million Man March what did we mean? What does justice look like? What form does it take for contemporary Black Americans? It would have been dope to see the Nation open up their hashtag to the community. If we asked our most vulnerable brothers and sisters what they needed—how they saw necessary justice—we could take real steps toward helping our community. Below are some possibilities for what those responses could have looked like:

#daycareOrElse – working parents need affordable daycare to continue working

#FAFSAassistanceOrElse – students in need of financial aid must fill out the FAFSA, an unbelievably daunting task which is impossible to navigate without proper instructions and paperwork

#contraceptionOrElse – HIV/AIDS is most prevalent in men and women of color, specifically Black Americans

#highereducationOrElse – there is a need for higher education in the workforce, especially for Black people who experience poverty and unemployment in higher rates than other Americans

#internshipsOrElse – students looking for prestigious jobs often need to have a connection with clout to get into a program, corporate, or even an interview. Under resourced kids don’t have these connections. Internships, and resulting mentorship, can provide unprecedented opportunities.

#groceriesOrElse – many people in the hood are food insecure and are not receiving adequate nutrition from reduced lunches, bread lines, or food pantries.

#postaladdressesOrElse – you need a consistent postal address for job applications, social security, food stamps, and welfare assistance—you can’t put down a P.O. Box address

#insuranceOrElse – people working minimum wage, part time, or low-skills labor jobs almost never receive employee benefits. Health and medical insurance is a necessity, and people living in poverty are proven to be more affected by both mental and physical illness.

#metrofairOrElse – cars are expensive, and the metro can be pricey especially when travelling long distances for work

#affordablehousingOrElse – anyone who’s ever lived in a shelter, housing project, or experienced homelessness would never recommend it. People need to live in safe dry places with full functioning appliances and heat.

#accreditedpublicschoolsOrElse – students of color are disproportionately impacted by unaccredited schools and the school-to-prison pipeline

#informedvotingOrElse – how many of us really know how the voting system works? Do you even know who you’re voting for? Do you know what the bills you vote on really mean for your community?

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November 1, 2015

About Author

Rosewater Rosewater is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Leadership and Management minor at American University. Her passion for education encourages her love of teaching and learning from others. She uses humor and creativity to push back against elitism in higher academia—often infusing pop culture references to make heady concepts more digestible. She advocates for urban youth’s accessibility to political and social justice concepts, with an ultimate goal of fervently improving urban development. She is committed to her dream of founding a national non-profit to expand resource accessibility to low income housing residents. As a writer and graphic illustrator for The Collard, she enjoys weaving ratchet politics and everyday happenings together for the modern millennial’s entertainment and education.


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