The Challenge of the Future

It is impossible to reflect on the past without giving some thought to the future. No matter how glorious and grand our past, it is the past. Nothing continues to exist depending completely upon past accomplishments. The future belongs to those who are foresighted enough to plan for it. We have the opportunity to build upon the great foundation of our past. This family reunion has existed for 52 years and can become even greater. But if this is to happen, we must plan for it.

The 21st century must be the time for this family decides to move, decisively, into bold new avenues. Let us seek to reach new plateaus. Let us reach for what appears to be unattainable, for we can do it. If our past tells us anything, it tells us that we already posses the resources we need to move forward.

Historically there have been three principle sources of strength that has enabled the Black family to survive. We survived the separation of family members and loved ones during slavery. We overcame the stifling effects of the depression. Even today, we are still holding our own against the strangling effects of racism. Amy and Andrew Billingsley, in a study, outlined the factors which has made the family a prominent feature of Black life5. They are: 1) strong kinship bonds; 2) strong work orientation; and 3) strong religious orientation. We commit this family, and each individual to these factors.

Traditionally, Black families have been extended families consisting of many relatives, other than those of the immediate family. Each family member felt a strong sense of responsibility for every member of the family, aunts, uncles, and even distant cousins. If we are to survive as a family reunion, then we must be careful that we continue to strengthen our family ties.

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