PBSA: Community, Duty, and Freedom by Sheyla Street, 280 (Insta: @phillybsa)

Many people believe that conflict results from action and can be avoided. However in regards to those who are oppressed this concept is not valid. The only way persecuted people can receive freedom is if they confront their subjection directly. This confrontation is an ongoing process as injustices still remain. Since the day freedom was taken, the fight for restoration began, and will continue until it is won. Within the Philly Black Student Alliance(PBSA) we understand that carrying out this responsibility as an integrated community is our respective duty just as Assata Shakur said “It is our duty to fight for our freedom”(Shakur).


Assata Shakur, a prominent Black activist herself was extremely deliberate about the wording in her quote in order to convey a specific message. Shakur’s use of the word “our” demonstrates community. In order for our movement to succeed, we need to be in union with one another. Recognizing our common stance and understanding each other are crucial aspects. Therefore in our community, united by the common goal of liberation, every path to success necessitates for collaboration. Through the explicit use of the word “freedom”, Shakur exposes the hidden captivity in society. Although most places in the modern world, by definition technically do not have slavery, our people are still being enslaved using various deceitful methods. Just as there are many different forms of slavery, there are various ideas on the concept of freedom. The word “fight” in the quote suggests that the idea of freedom must be imposed as it will not be given. Shakur informs the Black community through the word choice of “duty” that as descents of enslaved African people, we are responsible for continuing to advocate for the emancipation of our people.


Ultimately, our decisions in the PBSA community align with Shakur’s quote. Evident in our constitution we have decided to operate as one body while also establishing accountability for one another. Through the gesture of verifying each other’s action we are ensuring that as a community we are progressing. Equivalently we are performing our “duty” as Shakur mentioned. In addition, by being considerate of each other, we resemble Shakur’s principle about continuing what our ancestors commenced for the greater good of our people as a whole. As we demand and fight for tangible change in our schools, we are acquiring our own liberation. As Nelson Mandela said “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”(Mandela). While reimagining and outlining steps to recreate a school system that has oppressed our people for generations, we are practicing freedom. No longer believing or accepting fabricated theories reinforced by racist teachers and administrators, but equipped with valuable knowledge that has the potential to set our people free.


Works Cited

"Nelson Mandela Quotes." BrainyQuote.com. BrainyMedia Inc, 2019. 28 June 2019. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/nelson_mandela_178787


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