Words by Jairo Martinez
The colored population of Long Island is in a Defeatist coma. I recently read a letter written by Elmont, NY native Derny Fleurima to WeAreElmont.com. The letter refers to his theory that the people of Elmont are educated people but unfortunately “that education simply isn’t correct.” Fleurima states that regardless of the high level of education among our color people, we are still deterred from voting. He pleads with us that we need to take our stand in the voting process to be actually represented in the community that we live in.
I am an Elmont native as well. I have seen the population change from predominately white to predominately colored. With this change, I have also seen a decrease in the quality of living in our town. Elmont is slowly being ignored when it comes to maintaining our town. Elmont is on track to becoming just like Hempstead, NY. Businesses in Elmont open and then are forced to shut down. They follow the same cycle every year. Meacham avenue has seen many different small businesses shut down and reopen with a new store front.
Education is an important element for any individual to progress further in this society and economy. One of the issues though is that this society and economy was not built for us colored people. We are reminded constantly through different forms of media of the roles that colored people are to fill; Criminals, murderers, thugs, drug dealers, and etc. Before we blame media please remember that media is just a tool to be used. The blame here should be pointed at the agendas of those in power and how they choose to use media. People of color need to start making decisions. Decisions that will determine the outcome of their own lives. The first decision must be ‘What is it that I want from life?’ The second decision is ‘Who am I within this society that was not meant for me to succeed.? The third decision is ‘What am I willing to do for the answer of my first decision?’
The homes that we live in were not meant for us but we live in them. The jobs we hold were not meant for us but we labor. The freedom we desire was taken from us but we shall take that freedom back. As humans we are born with freedom, all living creatures have their freedom. The African was taken from their home, tied up, cross the great ocean to just become someone’s slave. The Native Americans, North, Central, and South, had their children taken, the women raped, and the men murdered.
Fleurima says that we can overcome the obstacles presented to us if we unite and become one people. This is more than just being represented in the voting process because the voting process was never meant for us. This is a plea for the people of Elmont to take the example of the people across the country who are fighting to gain their freedom back. Take the example of the BlackLivesMatter movement, take the example of the Civil Rights Movement that is in its revival stage. We may be in a defeatist coma but if we can decide what it is that we want from life, our people can awaken and begin to take action against the injustices that cripple our community.
Jairo Martinez is an Elmont resident. Jairo is a Senior at Queens College where he majors in Media Studies. Jairo says his work in the past has been focused on empowering at-risk youth who deal with social problems such as gangs, drugs, homelessness, suicide, depression and etc. He has also worked with Project Hope, a FEMA-funded project, aimed at helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
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