TO THE NAACP CENTENNIAL CONVENTION
We've got to say to our children, yes, if you're African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that somebody in a wealthy suburb does not have to face. But that's not a reason to get bad grades -- that's not a reason to cut class -- -- that's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands -- you cannot forget that. That's what we have to teach all of our children. No excuses. No excuses.
You get that education, all those hardships will just make you stronger, better able to compete. Yes we can.
To parents -- to parents, we can't tell our kids to do well in school and then fail to support them when they get home. You can't just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn. That means putting away the Xbox ---- putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences and reading to our children and helping them with their homework.
And by the way, it means we need to be there for our neighbor's sons and daughters. We need to go back to the time, back to the day when we parents saw somebody, saw some kid fooling around and -- it wasn't your child, but they'll whup you anyway. Or at least they'll tell your parents -- the parents will. You know. That's the meaning of community. That's how we can reclaim the strength and the determination and the hopefulness that helped us come so far; helped us make a way out of no way.Our children have the responsibility to work hard, to set goals, and strive to achieve those goals. Parents, grandparents, caretakers have to responsibility to teach our children to shrive to do better. It is our job to teach our children how to work hard, how to set a goal and how to achieve them. Be all you can be. Parents want to give their children what they did not have growing up. That is fine. But, yes, there is a but, in doing so are you denying them what you did have? The drive to achieve, a goal to be reached.
Help our children.