One year ago I started this forecast with a review of a message preached by my youngest son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, for Christmas 2010. He brought the message at Pasadena's Scott United Methodist Church where Pastor James Stephens is the senior Pastor. This year we were blessed to have him invited to Altadena's Metropolitan Baptist Church where Pastor Tyrone Skinner is the senior Pastor. The 2011 message was from the book of Jeremiah. He spoke about the people of Israel being captive in a strange land.
The message seemed particularly appropriate for African Americans today, even though our ancestors arrived here under less than ideal circumstances nearly four hundred years ago, we still find ourselves in a strange land where we are still treated as "less than."
I find it interesting that we have survived as such a great people even though the people that have dominated us for these four hundred years refuse to compete with us as equals and must make rules that are designed to keep us down. Hence, the Republican Party in 2011 has implemented updated versions of the old poll tax used in years past to keep Blacks from voting.
The fear must be that if given equality of opportunity, we might become Mayors, Attorney Generals of states, Attorney Generals of the United States, College Presidents. United States Surgeon Generals, Secretaries of State, or President of the United States. Oh, wait! What am I saying? We have already crossed that bridge, once. They now are working to see to it that we don't go across it again. Remember, I told you before, my Daddy taught me, there are some white people who don't sleep at night trying to figure new ways to keep Black folks down.
Our job is to prepare and stay prepared and remain vigilant. We must show-up at colleges and universities, show up at jobs where there are opportunities, and show up and pay attention to what is going on. I call it "SUPA" (Show Up and Pay Attention).
Imagine what would happen if every Black kid in America would be a SUPA kid. They would learn all of the secrets of math, technology, and language, and they would be singing the song, "How you like me now?" Yeah, I know there is no such song, except in the hearts and souls of achievers. It's a jingle I sing every now and then when I think of my college economics teacher who warned me that I would never be anything in life if I got out of his class. I left his class because I had been taught by my mother that I was a SUPA kid. So I say to that economics teacher, and to those who told people like me, and probably like Barack Obama, "How you like us now?
Vow in 2012 to teach your kid he/she is a SUPA Kid. To be a SUPA kid you have to show up and do something. It's like the biblical parable of the blind man who Jesus made to see. Jesus made mud with spit mixed with dirt to make the man see. As distasteful as it sounds, spitting on the ground and putting the spitball on the man's eyes, was a small price to pay for being able to see.
My journey of 17 years to get through law school at night, and passing the bar exam after numerous failures was a small price to pay for the achievement. How many people would still be blind telling Jesus, "I don't want spit on my eyes?"
How many would be stuck at reaching their goal because someone said something discouraging to them? If you are a parent still stuck at the point of saying I can't, don't inflict that disease on your kids. Tell them they can be anything if they will be a SUPA kid.
Show up, search for, and find the keys to success, and share them with the next generation. There may be power in being the first one, but there is no power in being the only one. So share. Reach back and bring someone else along. Adopt the motto of each one teach one. There is still strength in numbers.