“I am no way optimistic, but I remain a prisoner of hope.” – Dr. Cornell West, Hope on a Tightrope
Having spent the first 13 years of my adult life and career in community and youth development, I have found a plethora of reasons for my hope to wain. The generational/familial curses that perpetuate themselves year after year; poverty and its grip on the motivations and self concepts of millions of children; the prison industrial complex fueled by decades of a war on drugs, and subsequently a war on communities of color, that in turn create a deficit of men of color in communities…OK, you get the picture.
My optimism was often shredded by the tribalism and hater-ade that is produced and practiced as a direct result of scarce resources and systematic plantationism.
I tried not to participate in the deafening chorus of despair, however, I must admit, I attended choir rehearsal from time to time. The only hopes I have are found in my faith in God, and my eternal sentence as a prisoner of hope.
My jail cell of optimism is grounded in the idea that God gave us more listening resources than talking resources, and one day, we as Americans may catch the hint. I have worked in the very liberal social service sector, as well as the conservative business sector and I have found that no one is less human than the other. We all want the same things: jobs, security, love, peace, safety, etc. The way we go about them and in what order are debateable, however, I’m in a holding cell waiting for the day when honest disagreement can end in harmonious progress.
As a prisoner of hope, I have to be chained to the reality that there is no escape for me. I must believe, I must tell the truth, I must hope, even when hope is on a tightrope.
Love, Peace, and Hope…