Reclaiming our Past… By Mae Catherine Godhigh

What in the world do you want? Again, I am so glad you asked. For centuries this question has been asked by European immigrants concerning people of color. This question continues to be raised in town halls, city halls and at community tables. What do you want? Slavery is over! I didn’t own any slaves. Can you just put it behind you and get over it? Interestingly enough, I don’t recall the Jews or the Japanese being told to get over it.

Now, I realize this is a sensitive topic and I know this is going to be a stretch for many of you. But here is the beautiful truth. People of color, do not want or need an apology for enslaving our ancestors. A simple apology is meaningless without change.

Take a look at the definition of restoration. This is important because there can be no real apology, reconciliation without restoration. Restoration is the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. In laymen’s terms, whatever you took from me; give it back.

No, there is no unicorn with a magical wand. It’s past time all sides come to the table and admit, there cannot be and will not be reconciliation without restoration.

After 152 years, people of color are still waiting to cash their check for Educational Equality, Social justice, Economic Equality and Political Equality. After the Civil War, the Federal government promised freed slaves forty acres and a mule. This was obviously a lie and another bounced check from our Federal government. Much like the Willie Lynch letters, this default served as a permanent blueprint for people of color to experience economic hardships until this very day. Apologies for broken promises and treaties have never provided solution driven answers for systemic oppression.

What in the world do we want? We want the present caste systems of colonialism to be forever dismantled. Without those systems in place our children, grandchildren and our unborn legacies will share equal opportunities to excel and to make significant contributions to a nation which our ancestors built.

What do we want? We want the historical records to reflect, what was taken from the continent of Africa were not merely SLAVES. In those dark hours of the African diaspora, Africa was raped of its philosophers, scientists, engineers, physicians, mathematicians, astrologers, historians, jewelers, warriors, architects, resources, kings, and queens. This is not just Black History. This is World History.

Today, we are still waiting for the real opportunity and pathway towards reconciliation. While we wait, we are reclaiming our past.