Here Am I Lord…Send Me (And A Few Others, Too, If You Got ‘Em)

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”- Isaiah 6:8

This is one of my absolute favorite scriptures, because it serves as a constant reminder to me that God is always seeking to educate, equip and empower dedicated men and women who are not afraid of a challenge, and who are forever ready to carry out their God-given purpose in this world. As a man of faith, my mind is always fixed on ways in which God can always use me.

There’s an old-school saying in the neighborhood that I live by too, which many of you have probably heard before. It goes, “Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready!”

I wish I could tell you that I came out of my mother’s womb thinking that way, but that would be a bald-faced lie.

The truth is…all of my life’s experiences, coupled with the constant spiritual journey I’m on, have allowed me to adopt the level of thinking that I have, which supersedes mediocrity and consistently challenges me to avoid maintaining the status-quo.

Now while I’m still growing as a man, I can honestly confess that I’ve come to a place in my life where I’m totally committed to doing exactly what God has called me to do – without fear or reservation – even when it is unpopular, uncomfortable or inconvenient; especially being a bold and outspoken Black man in America, who is known for tackling critical, and sometimes controversial issues, which are negatively impacting the Black community every day.

In a sense, I feel like the blood of my African American predecessors is flowing through my veins, which explains my being committed to addressing these key issues and being resilient as my bold African American predecessors were.

The things that happened to African Americans in America could have annihilated common people; but see that’s the thing…Black people are not common people. The deliberate and systematic institutions created to harm us and destroy us, did NOT prevail.

So, let’s just keep it real. Black folks are, bar none, the most resilient and courageous group of people to have ever graced this country, and are second-to-none. Don’t argue with me!

When you think about it, isn’t it fascinating how Black people have been able to collectively survive all of the deliberate institutional traps, systematic roadblocks and evil activities our oppressors have thrown our way since being kidnapped and brought here to build America against our will?

Everything our oppressors intended to bring about our overall submission and demise didn’t work, although we have endured some of the most systematic institutions of evil in American history. Yet, in spite of those challenging circumstances, we’ve weathered the storm, kept the faith and have done everything in our power to continue our fight for freedom and equality – without fear or reservation – even when it has been unpopular, uncomfortable and inconvenient to do so. This brings me to our current reality in America.

We are facing so many blatant civil rights abuses in the country today that rival things from the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. As a matter of fact, they are worse.

So, as I think about the varied responses many Americans, and the National Football League, have had regarding NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel as a form of protest during the national anthem – as an attempt to bring attention to the issue of police brutality against African Americans in this country – I can’t help but be reminded about another form of protest, where a small remnant of people in Montgomery, Alabama, became fed up with the legalized racial discrimination and systematic abuses they were encountering at the hands of the local government. They decided to do something about it. This small remnant of Black people decided to protest the local government by encouraging all Blacks in the city to withhold their hard-earned money – carrying out what for many is regarded as one of the first massive boycotts of its kind against segregation in the U.S. by African Americans.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, and it is estimated that over 42,000 Black bus riders boycotted and refused to ride the city buses in Montgomery. That small remnant of committed individuals from Montgomery came together to effectively organize and adopt a strategy that galvanized a large group (not 100 percent) of African Americans, and got them to do something that was extremely unpopular, uncomfortable and inconvenient, for a total of 381 days. Because of their unconventional acts of inconvenience, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ordered the city of Montgomery to integrate its bus system.

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick, but it was effective.

Now while it excites me to know that one city could get over 42,000 Black people to come together to do anything, especially something as necessary as fighting against inequality and injustice, it excites me even more to know that it was ONLY a small remnant of 16 to 18 people who met in the pastor’s study of Mt. Zion AME Church to formulate the initial blueprint and plans that led to the boycott being effective and historically successful.

So what are you trying to say, Jeff? Well, I’m glad you asked.

A remnant of ‘like-minded’ people can get so much more accomplished than you can with a large group of folks who refuse to work together. It is even more difficult to get anything of significance accomplished when you have to deal with people who are more concerned with who is going to get the credit for the overall effort, versus being a team player and working towards results that benefit everyone – regardless of who gets the credit.

So, listen up everyone. I say it ALL the time and I will say it once again.

I, Jeffrey L. Boney, am only interested in working with a small remnant of folks who are not afraid to do the unpopular, uncomfortable and inconvenient things necessary to make a difference in the lives of Black people in this country. If that’s not you, it’s quite okay.

But as God continues to search for other folks like me, who are ready to speak up and demand justice and equality for Black people, please know that my response to Him will always be extremely clear, consistent and concise…….

Here Am I Lord…Send Me (And A Few Others, Too, If You Got ‘Em).

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at jboney1@forwardtimes.com