Use What You Got
There is a Bantu & Lamba Proverb that says, “What one won’t eat by itself, one will eat when mixed with other food.” My Grand momma Neda B used to make a dish called goulash. Goulash is this stew or soup that consists of meat, vegetables, and spices. Neda B made hers a little different because this soup was made with all the leftovers that she would have in her refrigerator. She would have all kinds of vegetables and meats. Sorry to my vegans and vegetarians but stay with me. You would see beef, chicken, pork. You would also see an assortment of vegetables. You would see beans, celery, carrots, tomatoes, etc. etc. All this deliciousness in one pot. You could clearly tell the distinct differences because nothing was blended. Each thing had its own characteristic and individual taste. I realize that this description may be off putting, however once I had a spoonful of this deliciousness, I would appreciate every other spoonful until it was all gone. When it was all gone, I would experience a sudden sense of loss. Then, I remembered that the pot was still on the stove and I could go back and get some more.
The world is starving for what we bring to the goulash. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. You have been blessed with talents and expertise. You have intellect and information. You are artist, visionaries, business professionals, organizers, trainers, consultants, and many other parts. What made Neda B’s goulash so good was that she did not blend — It was all random and stood on its own. She allowed for each part to bring what it had to the goulash.
Beloved, society is saying that we need to conform to be successful. That we must accept the inequity and injustice of a system and administration that is rolling back regulations that protect people and planet with malicious intent and reckless abandon. They suggest that we should accept being shot dead in the streets; we’re supposed to discriminate against our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters; We are supposed to allow corporations to dictate our existence while destroying our home; we’re supposed to accept the politicization of a disease that has left over 200k people dead and the current administration is still trying to downplay it. Well, I stand with the NAACP in saying, “We are done dying!”
We are done dying as a people and planet. We who feel the effects of climate change, police brutality, poverty, and pollution are done! As the great African text says, “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” We have come out today to declare that we are done. We will not blend into the status quo. We are individuals with something unique to offer to shape the world we want to see. We bring our marches, our hearts, our songs, our passion, our empathy, our talents, our mind, our connections, our platforms. We bring our everything with a sense of urgency because we know all too well just what we are up against — hurricanes, floods, disease, civil unrest — we know it because we have felt it. We are the experts and we need to be listened to.
We are clergy, activist, advocates, organizers, artist, students, scientist, politicians, and so much more. I am saying to you, bring it! Bring what you got! Neda B used what she had and did not allow it to go to waste. She could have very well said well this does not go together, this doesn’t fit, this isn’t applicable. No, she used what she had. She could have thrown out the leftovers and considered them useless. No. she used what he had. Grand momma could have picked through the leftovers and separated the parts that she deemed worthy. No! Grand momma used what she had.
Beloved, use what you have. Use what you have because the world needs what you have. Society needs what you have. The planet needs what you have. Use what you have so that we all can appreciate your flavor and what you bring to the pot. The only way that we correct the injustices is if we use what we have. Use your privilege, use your education, use your talent. Use your vote! If you are over the age of 18, go vote. You are needed to reorient society, envision a just and equitable transition, and reshape politics. They may have political power, but we have people power. By November 3rd, you have an opportunity to use what you’ve got. Go vote! In addition to marching, go vote!
Last, we need your voice. Stand up and speak up against injustice, inequity, and inequality. Do not get tired of doing justice. Make your voice heard with your family and friends. Help them to see that they also bring something to the goulash. Each one affect one. This is not a sprint; it is a relay. Each of us are called forward to run this race of life and pass the baton. Using what you have ensures that there is someone left to pass the baton to. It ensures that when our goulash runs out, we can go back for seconds. It ensures that there is something left for those coming behind us.
Beloved, as I end this, I offer to you Love, Peace, and Light!