Monday, November 19, 2007

Giving Thanks for Our “Covenant” Children

Read this post on the Jamestown Project's blog, the Democracy Spot

This past Thursday millions of Americans paused to give thanks for the multitude of blessings in our lives. As we gathered around our dinner tables amidst the turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato pie, I hope that we did not forget that the annual ritual of appreciation is about more than a feast or the harvest, or even simply reconnecting with family. From the earliest recorded Thanksgiving celebrations in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia and in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Thanksgiving has always been about the future – a celebration that boldly embraced hope, generations to come, and optimism for tomorrow.

As we move into this holiday season, it is the perfect time to celebrate our children. One of my favorite sayings is that while children are less than 50% of our present population, they are certainly 100% of our future. History has shown us time and again that social movements can rise or fall on the shoulders of youth. An inspired child who dares to dream and even more daringly chooses to believe in that dream can, and will, change the world. Yet children are likely the most overlooked, undervalued of all citizens in our society.

The Covenant with Black America inspired a movement. When The Jamestown Project was asked to help move The Covenant goals into action, I was determined to ensure that we officially extend the “call to action” to children. We must keep our arms as open to children as their hearts and minds are open to love. We must embrace them as partners, nurture their souls, and inspire them to action, but also remain willing to learn from their idealism and commitment to simple truths.

I wrote I Dream for You a World: A Covenant for Our Children because I am inspired by my daughter’s simple questions that uncover truths that do not have to be: “Why do healthy foods have to cost so much?” “Why did the city allow lead into our water fountains at school?” and “Why do we keep so many Black people in jail?” I wanted to give her the guidance, inspiration and the tools to do her part, even at her young age, to create her own answers and to erase the ugly truths that her questions reveal.