That was the title of my 1970 high school graduation speech forty five years ago. It was just five years past the 1965 Watts Rebellion. I experienced the worst urban rebellion in our history when I was thirteen. It does not take much to recall the sights, sounds, and high energy in the air. Night skies turned blazing colors of oranges, reds, and yellows– the colors of hot anger billowing up into the dark.
As I watched the burning of Baltimore, the imperative is the same: today’s youth is our best promise of a future. How will we step up as adults stepped up in 1965 and helped us to organize to improve our community?
Our youth need hope. They need to dream with courage and faith. All is not lost. All is not lost when caring adults step up to help, when agencies bring in jobs and activities. The future of our youth has been compromised. Yet, all is not lost.
In 1965, I wondered if all was lost after six days of burning and destruction in Watts. James Baldwin wrote about The Fire Next Time. Are we there yet?