Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills to promote more CA electric cars, while New York Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans for $1 billion in energy retrofits for municipal buildings and pressuring landlords into reducing energy use.
We live in a contradictory world. Dispiriting events coincide with progress for human dignity. Bombs fall on children. The gay rights movement makes unimaginable gains. But when change occurs, it's because people find ways to act even in demoralizing times or when all the doors seem closed, and open up new possibilities by doing so.
My hope is that the dialogue we have begun will help to re-connect us to an understanding of civil society as a deeply human construct, as a facilitator of empowering social relationships. In this, it will be crucial to reflect on the role of our own organisations. For only solutions that are at once pragmatic and radical will be sufficient to meet the challenges we face.
The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.