There is a failure to communicate in African American institutions, churches, community and family. This has led to ineffectiveness in our social justice concerns as illustrated in the article Under One Roof, Divergent Views on ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Here is one solution to bridging the generations.
Level I: Icons: The 60 Plus Generation
The people in this generation are the ones who have shown community service and activism. They represent tremendous amounts of wisdom, knowledge, experience and history that could be passed on to younger generations. There could be an annual forum where they can provide wisdom and moral support but not make policy. A small group of 5 or so would mine the resources of their age group and recommend individuals to bring their wisdom, history and experience to the late career generation.
Level II: Late Career Generation
There is a late career generation (40 – 65) that has skills, resources, contacts and finances to contribute. They can consult with the Level I Icons and bring resources and raise funds for Levels III and IV but do not need to provide a lot of time nor make policy.
Level III: Early Career Generation
The early career folks (25 – 40) have challenges such as moving ahead in their jobs, raising children and navigating them through institutions such as school. They also have fairly recent education, housing, job hunting experiences and more. Having just gone through or presently going through these challenges should give them insights for developing policies. They can become advocates for children. They would train and check in on the young adults and respond to questions and concerns.
Level IV: The Dreamers
Young adults (18 – 30) are the dreamers. When Martin Luther King Jr spoke about having a dream this is who he was. They have ambition, time, energy, security, not as many responsibilities. They will survey the needs of adolescents and their communities. They can develop programs and then carry out policies and programs. They can take risks, experiment with new challenges. They can relate to the struggles of young adolescents, mentor them, do peer counseling and provide role models for them. They can work with younger children to meet their needs, develop services for themselves and younger folk, at the same time gaining experience. This is CORE. This is SNCC. They are the SCLC field staff, the NAACP youth organization, the equivalent of the protesters of the 60’s. They are Black Lives Matter.
Level V: Our Future
Adolescents (12 – 18) are the target for programs carried out by The Dreamers. They need to be educated, made aware of future challenges and how they can be prepared for them. They can be guided toward broader opportunities, public service and the fun and satisfaction of working with others toward a common goal. Make up and size of target groups of adolescents need to be managed and controlled. Each group should be culturally, ethnically and economically mixed. Each group of 12 – 18 year olds should be small enough to comfortably meet in a home (10 – 12 people) so an institution is not needed to provide a meeting place. Perhaps meetings could rotate among the homes of the participants, thus maintaining communication with parents.