When I first set out to make a difference by changing the social, political, and economic condition of my community, I never imagined that I’d experience the most negativity, barriers, and ridicule from people who are supposed to be fighting for the same causes. I could not fathom that my greatest opposition would come from people who profess to be fellow Democrats.
I suppose privilege, sexism, classism, intolerance, bigotry, and racism aren’t relegated to any party or social construct.
I recognize that there are some who cannot understand the complex realities of this experience. There are those who seek to deflect by pointing out that the blatant hypocrisies and flaws across the aisle. However, refusing to acknowledge the lived experiences of others only perpetuates the problems and does nothing to address or minimize their counterproductive effects.
The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. The problems within our party aren’t unique, but the solutions must be. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We will be ineffective in changing our collective plight unless we first get our own house in order.
The solution will require daily introspection from individuals and grassroots organizations on this side of the aisle. In our time of introspection, we must take a long hard look at our collective goals. Here are just a view questions that we should all consider. Have I checked my own biases, stereotypical ideas, and preconceptions before attempting to address the needs of a diverse community? Why did we start or join our grassroots organization? Who are we benefitting now? Have we been as open-minded about accepting new ideas and approaches as we could be? What measurable impact are our actions making on our respective communities? Have we inadvertently or intentionally ignored or excluded the voices of the people who we claim to be seeking to help? Have we allowed egos, pride, and the desire to maintain power in our respective communities to come before our initial mission? Have I or my organization become a part of the problem? We must also consider whether we are capable of achieving our personal and organizational goals in our respective shoes.
We can continue on with business as usual and we will continue to get the same results. Our collective effectiveness depends upon our ability to acknowledge our privilege, subdue or biases, check our prejudices, see beyond our preconceptions, and unify to accomplish a collective outcome that’s bigger than our separate organizations and all of us as individuals. Any forward progress will require a coalition of voices. This demands a concerted and unified effort from those who genuinely want to be the change they wish to see.
Let’s stand together.
Antoine Pierce is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Louisiana running against incumbent Senator Bill Cassidy. Pierce is also the founder of the Better Boys Initiative. He currently serves as an appointee of Governor John Bel Edwards to his advisory board for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.