The Conscious Corner by Maceo Z. Keeling, Sr. –
Purpose is the driver for activism.
Purpose gives you direction by anchoring in a goal, or vision, the actions you need to undertake to achieve great ends.
On its face, “purpose” is as simple as just getting involved, but it encompasses both your goal and the way you get there! So, what does involvement look like? Voting, volunteering, lobbying, writing to your congressman, speaking your piece when you hear misrepresentations … all are ways to demonstrate activism.
Yet activism also has a music of silence. Activism can be stronger when you don’t give in to the temptation to say “I’m right, you’re wrong,” or to shout “We won!” or “You lost—get over it.” Instead, a quiet acknowledgement is a classy option, especially when there is no policy, only politics, on the table.
Priorities must be established with specific expected outcomes, and with as much surety as if you were to sow a seed. We sow with the expectation beyond hope that we will reap a harvest. Our priorities are strategic advances toward our goals and are achieved by continuing tactical efforts. We have seen what happens when we rest on an achievement: we lull ourselves into a sense of a victory before the clock signals the game is over. We must always remind ourselves that the game is not over until our goal is reached, and our purpose is fulfilled—when the policy we aim for is on the books!
Practice your goal setting. I am defining “practice as “the incessant and repetitive actions toward a specific outcome.” Set goals, measure them, reestablish them, and push for them to be accomplished. Do it again. And again, until they’re achieved.
Twelve years ago, and again four years later, we showed up and voted for Obama/Biden, and then we quickly went back to the couch and the big screen to watch what happened—or didn’t happen—and loudly complained when the change came slowly or not at all. We drove hard and fast to get the votes out, but we took our foot off the accelerator when he needed us to keep moving ahead!
Push with a purpose in mind! Now we have showed up for Biden/Harris, and we must hold them both accountable for our agenda like we never have before. But we also have to hold ourselves accountable! Stay engaged and active. Go to local City Council meetings, organize neighborhood actions, and hold Council and County Commission members accountable.
Publicize anything that is done in the dark and needs to be brought into the light. Publicity alone is shining a light on something overlooked (or even hidden), but it doesn’t rise to the level of policy making. As we have seen over and over, though we protest extra-judicial killings by men in uniform; though we demand action, call to reallocate money toward needed services, better training, community protection, the deaths continue to mount. We continue to be killed in the streets and continue to bear abuse from systemic inequities in every aspect of American life.
Purpose, Priorities, Practice, Publicity are the underpinnings of policy making! The goal must be to change, correct, and enact policies that serve us. Policy-making is the cause, and the result, of purpose; it is the achievement that can be set in stone to enforce our stated goals—and empower us to achieve them.
Policy I’ll define as “the verifiable, enforceable, expressed legislation that insures and enforces the equitable treatment and inalienable rights of humankind. Among these are the right to breathe, to privacy and peaceful slumber in your own bed, the right to wear a hoodie, the right to drive while black, the right to earn a living wage, the right to make decisions about your own body and the right to love, and the right to pray.”
Politeness. That’s the packaging all this work must come in. We must not gloat. When we sowed our seeds—by voting—we planted candidates with the expectation of a leadership that is inclusive not divisive. But sowing a seed does not grow a garden! It must be hoed, and watered, and weeded, and trimmed; insects and fungi and pests like aphids must be kept in check or removed; it must be fertilized and mulched! That is how the garden will produce a crop—the policy!
So we must not celebrate too much, but rather keep our hand to the plow. We must keep our gaze fixed on the goal, Policy! We must work the rich and fertile soil of our democracy until we gain a new outcome for our toil. We have just held the groundbreaking ceremony, nothing more. We have sown the seed. Now we must continue the ongoing practice of organizing, prioritizing, protesting and activism. Only by purpose, prioritizing, practice, and publicity can we achieve our purposeful policy, and begin to enjoy the fruits of holistic, inclusive policy making!
It will not be easy—but is anything worth doing?
“Vision Is Not Enough – Clarity is Vital to Achieve Your Goals.” Speaker Requests Contact (828) 989-6999.