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By Melanie Funchess

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We as a people were taught to live communally. Looking out for the whole as well as the one; thriving in our interdependence. We shopped together... and we played together! We worked together and prayed together. We struggled together and we rejoiced together. Our neighbor's problem was everyone's problem.

Whether it was selling dinners at the church or throwing a "Rent Party"... We were there for each other. It was Ms. Brenda's watching everyone's kids on the block. It was Ms. Star sending a meal down to the family down the block that didn't have food. Accompanying words like "Millie, I want you to taste this" Kept the family pride intact.

These manners of thoughts, words and deeds are fibers of the cloth from which we are cut as a people. These are the foundation that have been laid for us. It may not look exactly the same for each of us but the general premise of living communally was there.

As the years have progressed, and we have strived for the "American Dream", we have taken on different values. We have become far more individualistic. We have gone from "I am because we are and we are because I am" and I am "My Brothers Keeper" to "My Four and no more".

My question to us is this: what have we gained from this endeavor? It seems that we work more and have less. we may have more money, cars, houses and things... but we have less sense of community spirit which is what made us so strong! We have more diabetes, high blood pressure, and strokes; we are living large and in charge... but much sicker.

We as a people have a great many strengths can be tracked back to our roots in Africa. These are key elements to our wellness as a people.... Read More

(Published in Our Voice- The Magazine October 2015)

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