Incorporating the The Germantown Chronicle & The Northwest Independent

6661 Germantown Ave • Philadelphia, PA 19119 • 215-438-4000 •


With Freedom Comes Responsibility

Today we have the resources to live better lives due to the diligent and deliberate achievements of the generations before us. We have more choices of schools for education, neighborhoods to live in, consumer goods, amusement options social groups and political instruments to address our rights and revelations. We can patronize, publicize, fraternize, exercise, improvise from coast to coast, in real time with whomever we want, if we want to. We have what it takes to ‘overcome’, owing to our forerunners blood, sweat and tears. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we still have more to do, but I put to you the undeniable truth that we have more resources at our disposal than our parents ever imagined.

So, it would be reasonable to suppose that our lives are better, our communities beaming, our hopes brighter and our children above average. Oh, wish that it were so. Today our lives are cluttered, our communities polluted, our hopes humbled and our children victimized by a flimsy cultural society of adults who have cheated them of good role models and sound principals. Today, anything goes.

The most important resource we have is ourselves and what it means to be free. And, with that freedom come responsibility. Freedom is not free! That, of course, is not an original of mine but it rings true no matter who says it. We have the freedom to make choices, changes and chances. Freedom, to me, is divine consciousness. It is a discipline of accountability to family and community. It is an obligation to be responsible to this valuable precept of maturity.

In the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. "We need to fight for ourselves, think for ourselves and work for ourselves.” We need to embrace our beauty and elevate our communities; pull our pants and panties up! We have been witness to a significant change in guard and guidance.

So, what happened to us? Why are a lot of our men standing around on street corners in crumbling neighborhoods while our women take traditional male jobs to feed the family. Why are our streets sorely littered with trash, dumped anywhere, thrown out of moving cars, thrown everywhere but in a trash can? Why are we lining up at every Chinese and fast food joint five to six times a week with our little ones purchasing chicken wings and french fries and calling it dinner? Why are we not training our young men and women,at home, the value of a good education and work ethics? Why are our women lining up to buy all the false hair that the market can supply to fool no one but ourselves? And why are we not attending community meetings to know what’s going on in our neighborhoods? Is it time? Is it money? Or is it we just don’t give a damn until someone gets shot. How many of us vote, regularly?

In my growing-up days, we were encouraged to be somebody. We couldn't afford a lot of things but we were taught to take care of what we had. We were proud of clean street and flowers in the garden. We watched our language in public and sang songs like ‘Respect Yourself.’

I know you can’t put the genie back into the bottle but we as adults who remember those days, have a responsibility to pass on some of those old school values to this generation who is benefitting from the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers and mothers. It is to that experience and awareness of those who remember that I appeal to in this statement,with freedom come responsibility. We have all benefitted. Now it’s our turn. How will history speak of us? How will we use our resources to make our lives better and be responsible?

Canada Brown