Many of us make individual New Year’s resolutions. We promise that – this year – we’ll lose weight, get fit, stop smoking, drink less…the list goes on. But few of us make collective New Year’s Resolutions. That is goals, plans and ambitions that will benefit our environments, our communities and the wider world.
We tend to think it’s the job of politicians and policy makers to deal with the problems in our society. The uncomfortable truth is that each of us has to be the change we want to see in the world. It’s uncomfortable because it means getting off our backsides and doing something. It doesn’t demand much of us to passively watch the news, mutter under our breaths, shake our heads at what we see and then just continue as normal. Of course, underneath our complaints is the quiet confidence that the gun crime, gang violence, violence going on around us is unlikely to ever affect us personally – or so we think.
I’ve just returned from Nigeria, my homeland. There, the rich people are content to live their rich lives whilst 99% of the country lives in dire poverty. Nothing changes because those who can make a change think it’s not their problem. That is, until someone they know is caught up in an armed robbery.
Already this year – that is, within the past 7 days – at least three young men of colour have died violent deaths in London. The killings of our youth are becoming so commonplace that soon they will no longer fetch headlines. What will black Britons – scratch that, ALL Britons – resolve to do differently for our greater good this year?
This year I’m going to be much more involved in grassroots activism. My resolution in 08 is not to be an armchair theorizer, not someone who just tut-tuts and writes articles, but someone who is actively making a change on a day-to-day practial level. What about you?