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Do the Damn Thing
by Earnest Edward Hite

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This upcoming Black Pride will lifts the hearts, minds, and oh yes bodies of many women and men.

Yes, my bristers (a combination of brothers and sisters) will be out and about licking on that delicious eye candy. Yes, you know, girls and boys in next to nothing with almost everything showing. It will be a great time. As we shed the confining clothes of the winter months and prepare for the searing hot days of summer.

Now as a community we owe big shouts out to the bold, beautiful, and brash bristers of the Stonewall era. Oh that was back in the day (1969 circa) when most everybody was in the self-made closet of denial and only came out with the rest of the so-called freaks after dark. Yeah I said freaks … it was wild, the drinks flowed, the music was bangin' and the sex was extra raw. In today's terms it was unprotected and no latex. Baby we used Vaseline, lotion and my personal favorite, Crisco. Crisco seemed to stay right were it was placed. Yes indeed, yes indeed those were the days, people.

The parties, the clothes, the liquor, the boys, the girls, the hair, the fragrances and the food were all a pretext for sex. Now mind you liberation was going on—the Black Panthers were talking 'bout their 10-point program of freedom, the sexual revolution was in vogue … no, not that Madonna madness, please, and I almost forgot the peace movement. Oh yeah the civil-rights movement was in full swing— just a few years before Stonewall, in 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed off on the Civil Rights Act and subsequently in 1965 the Voting Rights Act. Now Negros, yeah, we were calling ourselves Negros back in the day ... Great God almighty we now could eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom right alongside white folks. Yes, the specter of slavery and segregation was lifting, hallelujah.

The civil-rights movement had its most significant moment when tens of thousands of Negro citizens organized and marched on Washington, D.C., to demand our rights and reparations from the Unites States government. So while Dr. King unleashed the now famous 'I Have A Dream' speech, he also was advocating on the steps of the Washington monument that America must pay what is due to the Negro people. It was time for the United States government to fill in and cash the blank check due our people. This country has a moral responsibility and ethical duty to resolve the so-called Negro problem.

Today most bristers are still in the dark about this great march in 1963 and the leadership of a Black gay man, Bayard Rustin, who largely organized the 1963 March on Washington. Yes, indeed, but the old-guard leadership asked him to step down, fearful of the negative impact and consequences of this discovery and the damage it might cause for the movement. That was a sad moment in our history, but he just did the damn thing. We should be proud.

Now we as a people have some great shoulders to stand upon. That lifts us up like our fathers or mothers might have done, giving us an unreal view of the adult world around us. So while we enjoy the weather, the sharing, the parties, and most definitely the sex, let's reflect on the challenges to our lives as men and women living in the African American community.

The poverty and degradation we face, not in the physical sense alone, but in the reality that our lives are subjugated and confined by economic, social and political disparities. We are considered freaks, fags, sissies and punks by many from Black hip hop rappers to Black preachers in the pulpit or we narrowly define ourselves within the construction of the down-low phenomena. Our lives are worth so much more. Let's be more my bristers. So while we celebrate this Black Pride, let's remember that there is major work to do. It isn't just about you, but about the future and freedom and justice for all. Let's do the damn thing for our future.

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