I love using TV sitcoms to illustrate where we are as a society.
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, as we examine the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
In Season 3, Episode 2, Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian voluntold their family to help clean up their old neighborhood for the weekend. The family ventured from their Bel-Air home to the derelict housing the Bankses lived in prior to Uncle Phil’s promotion at his law firm. There they helped people remove old furniture, trash and other junk from the area.
Near the end of the day, Will, somewhat flustered after being turned down by a girl, notices his cousins flirting with guys at the cleanup. Will says to one of the locals, “Can you believe this mess? I thought we came here to work?”
The local, Noah, aka Shavar Ross, who played Weasel on Family Matters, said, “Don’t even sweat it. Most of those [people] aren’t coming back here anyway. [Give it] a few months and their conscience will be clear. Everything will be back to status quo.”
Sure enough, as the event concluded, Noah asked Will if he’d return the next day or the following weekend. To Noah’s chagrin, Will listed all the reasons he couldn’t come back.
In this case, the cleanup and Noah represent those in the struggle in Colorado Springs. Will represents newer activists who joined the fight in 2020.
Don’t become Will.
Retain that passion to lead the community in the right direction. In the words of the late Kobe Bryant, “[The] job’s not finished.”
Seeing #BlackoutTuesday trend on Instagram in June following the death of George Floyd still holds value. Walking near Adams Park and seeing a memorial for De’Von Bailey hurts but shows people still care.
Pressure applied to evoke change in local governments with protests in Denver, Aurora and Colorado Springs remains crucial in the fight against injustices against minorities.
That energy is absolutely necessary for 2021. Fighting for change can’t be a trend. It needs to continue until society improves its treatment of minorities.
Despite what the ignorant and privileged say, there’s no ideal time to protest. Those same people believe the Washington Football Team’s previous name, as well as the Cleveland baseball team and its Chief Wahoo mascot, showed respect for indigenous Americans.
Protests and change create discomfort — as they should — and rarely occur when it’s convenient. Protests occur when they are necessary. And they’ll still be necessary in 2021.
Those who assisted in the local movements — from distributing food during marches to showering protestors with milk to help those hit with tear gas — remain crucial assets in the fight for equity.
I’m sure this fight exhausted plenty who joined the cause in 2020, but please understand, those minor efforts can lead to fruitful change.
And don’t discredit those who select social media as their platform for change. Just because it’s not the literal front lines doesn’t mean it’s a futile effort.
Educational posts or links to stories from history serve as much purpose as those heading to a capitol to voice their concerns.
I’m happy to see all the numerous allies join the fight against racism, which unfortunately remains alive and well. But don’t stop until the job is complete.
To be clear, Will decided to return to the neighborhood the following week to help.
After listening to Uncle Phil reminisce about his family’s life at their old apartment, Will chose to help those in a difficult situation.
Hopefully, this column serves as Uncle Phil’s story — I hope you recognize your importance in improving our neighborhood.