“The group most devastated by America’s obsession with the gun, is African Americans. Although making comparisons can be dangerous, there are times when they must be noted. America has the largest prison population in the world. And of the over 2 million men, women and children who make up the incarcerated, the overwhelming majority is black. We are the most unemployed, the most caught up in the unjust systems of justice, and in the gun game, we are the most hunted. The river of blood that washes the streets of our nation flows mostly from the bodies of our black children. Yet, as the great debate emerges on the question of the gun, white America discusses constitutional issue of ownership, while no one speaks of the consequences of our racial carnage. The question is, where is the raised voice of Black America? Why are we mute? Where are our leaders? Our legislators? Where is the church?”
These is part of the acceptance speech give by Harry Belafonte at the N.A.A.C.P. Image awards as he was distinguished as being the 97th Spingarn Medal recipient. Belafonte is renowned as a singer and songwriter but I will always hold him in high regard as being a key social activist during the Civil Rights era. At 85 years of age, he could have got on stage and talked about himself. He could have given the routine; typical acceptance speech and no one would have said a word. Instead he touched on the sensitive topic of race and gun control, he asked tough, hard-hitting questions that I’m sure made a lot of people around America uncomfortable regardless of race. I for one was inspired by his speech. Its not everyday that you see anyone use their fame and audience to speak on a platform and not try to appease the majority but say what is really on their mind and in their heart.
“Athletes today are scared to make Muhammad Ali statements.”- Nasir Jones
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