The virtual world we live in is often void of real role models that populated our world of the past. We could see examples of real people we aspired to grow up and emulate. In our virtual world, we don't know what is real anymore. The recent passing of Maya Angelou reminded me of a compass that helps us navigate our way through the world that lies ahead. Reflecting on her life reminded me that WORDS MATTER:
- The words of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth matter
- The words of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois matter
- The words of Marcus Garvey and Carter G. Woodson matter
- The words of Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin matter
- The words of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X matter
- The words of Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela matter
These voices spoke to us from towering individuals of character and purpose, determination and sacrifice. We heard them and we could see them walking the walk, not just talking the talk. In the world we live in, anyone with access to a keyboard has a voice. We are overwhelmed with blogs, and videos, and tweets, and Facebook posts. Amidst the noise and clutter, we often ask WHAT MATTERS?
Over the course of the past ten years in the iZania Online Community, we have been reflecting the perspectives of the Virtual Black Community in articles, blogs, commentaries, stories and news. Many voices have contributed to our collective views on the needs and aspirations of our community. Using a tool called Wordle(tm), I have pictured above where the emphasis of our words have made the most impact -- taken from a collection of articles. What we talk about reflects what is important to us.
What stands out more than anything is that being BLACK is most important to us. During the sixties we went through a period where we repeated: "Say it loud. I'm Black and I'm proud." In the virtual world of the new millennium, we are still proud to be Black.
Our focus on ENTREPRENEURS and BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES and ECONOMIC empowerment are often included in the language of what we MUST do to enhance the PROGRESSin our COMMUNITY. These words have little meaning unless, like the voices from our past, we put them into action with integrity, character and purpose.
As we navigate our way through this new millennium, there are many other words that guide us. It is important that we use the foundation of our past to gird us with the courage to act on our words. Economic empowerment rings hollow unless we put our money where our words are.
I am watching the memorial service for Dr. Maya Angelou as I am writing this article. I am reminded of this favorite quote from her many words of wisdom:
"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."
Roger Madison, CEO