5 months ago


WHY ROAR? (Research,

WHY ROAR? (Research, Overcome, Appreciate & Revitalize) These four words help bring THE TIGER & THE TORCH full circle. RESEARCH asks questions that take us through all sorts of places that we perhaps would not go. It introduces us to people from the past and others here in the present that we would otherwise not meet. Our stories recount the ways our ancestors embodied the strength, courage and wisdom 7 to OVERCOME their challenges. They understood how the proper perspective of the past allowed for continuous progress in their present and helped to shape our future. As people observe current trends, it becomes evident that relaying our history through multiple mediums helps us achieve more effective community engagement. In doing so, we help others APPRECIATE and share experiences that span generations. It will take people of all ages to correct the current state of abandonment and disrepair of far too many African American cultural icons across the United States. They roar at us like a TIGER. 8 These remaining places, our relics, and the people they represent demonstrate the survival and tenacity of our elders. By definition, a relic is an object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental interest. 9 Although it is not a common word, it is a common sight to see abandoned and blighted buildings in need of restoration throughout our communities. The sacrifices and experiences of our elders kindled their passion for creating a better life. That same fire now lights a TORCH for us to continue to progress today and demands that we REVITALIZE what remains. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 13

CATALYSTS FOR CONVERSATIONS In certain African communities, there are baobabs that provide a central location for important conversations. A baobab 10 is an extremely large tree. It is full of natural resources that enable people to create staple items such as paper and fabric in order make a living for themselves and their families. It is a source of water, food, and shelter. Because of the size of the tree, it is also used as a community gathering place for learning and worship. Even in harsh times, the tree is built to last and continually provides essentials for living in the African desert. Because of that, it is often called the “Tree of Life". Photo Credit: Dudarev Mikhail ROAR! THINK ABOUT THIS AFRICAN PROVERB: “TRUTH IS LIKE A BAOBAB TREE; ONE PERSON’ S ARMS CANNOT EMBRACE IT.” 11 Truth takes on many forms and some of our truest stories have the rawest emotions attached. Knowing this makes it easier to filter out the unfamiliar or to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. Although it is possible to quickly see and understand someone else’s point of view, sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand other people’s ideas and experiences. Yet in doing so, we avoid being blind to reality and we become more aware of the common roots we share. Every struggle has a story of its own. The outcome is what usually determines if it is ever told. The more realistic we are with our perspectives about the people and places around us, the more we can begin to fully respect ourselves and others. Moving society forward is an ongoing effort that requires ongoing dialogue. These conversations can be uncomfortable. They also can spark some of the necessary changes in our communities that make them stronger and more welcoming. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 14