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By: Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher of African-American News & Issues & Author of column series We MUST Understand

“Wake up everybody, no more sleepin’ in bed; no more backward thinkin’ time for thinkin’ ahead… The world has changed so very much from what it used to be; so there is so much hatred war an’ poverty…. Wake up all the teachers, time to teach a new way; maybe then they’ll listen to whatcha have to say… ‘Cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands; when you teach the children, teach ’em the very best you can… The world won’t get no better; if we just let it be… The world won’t get no better; we gotta change it, yeah, just you and me…  Wake up all the doctors, make the ol’ people well; they’re the ones who suffer an’ who catch all the hell… But they don’t have so very long before the judgment day; so won’tcha make them happy before they pass away? Wake up all the builders, time to build a new land; I know we can do it if we all lend a hand… The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind; surely things will work out, they do it every time…”

I have always enjoyed listening to Teddy Pendergrass’, Wake Up Everybody, and I must admit that it is one of my all-time favorites. It’s not just because of the smooth melody and easy listening that it brings either. But, every time I hear the lyrics to this song or the words, “Wake Up Everybody”, it takes my mind back to the journey that my wife and I started out on over a couple of decades ago. Before the City of Houston and the State of Texas were ever introduced to this publication, we had long been on a mission to educate, empower and uplift the African-American community and culture.

We understood early on, that as Africans living in America we are the only group of people that were brought to this nation and have yet to receive a due balance. Even though it looks like the whole world around us has changed and many of the struggles that once served to afflict us does not exist anymore; many people are unaware that there remains even higher hurdles to cross than the ones we have already overcome. We understood that African-Americans are one of the most significant and integral parts of American society, regardless of how our relevance is often overlooked and portrayed in mainstream media. To that regard, we set out on a mission and searched high and low for partners to share in with us on our quest to uplift and present the true issues that affect our communities. However, our searches proved futile and we knew that we had to do what we were compelled to do, just to say, “Wake Up Everybody!”

Some people may refer to my wife and me as being repetitive with our messages of awareness and empowerment. Some may even think that some of the things that we strive to warn and teach our people about are common sense. But as my wife always say, “Sense ain’t common, if everybody ain’t got it”. My point in stating that is to explain that there is a “method to our madness”. We know first-hand how generation after generation are constantly being left behind and are gravitating further away from our culture, in most cases due to ignorance. This in part is why African-American News & Issues has produced 23 volumes, because it is imperative that our people understand the need to, “Wake Up”!

Since the establishment of this publication, there are many changes that have taken place. African-American News & Issues evolved from being an Acres Homes’ community-based paper to covering the city, state and the nation. Furthermore, with our most-recent outlet www.aframnews.com, we now have the ability to allow our message to penetrate globally. Over the years, we have accommodated forums for countless writers, experienced employees come and go, changed the colors, format and styles of the paper, produced tons of life stories, presented a networking and advertising tool for individuals, small business owners and large corporations, we have promoted endless community, local and nationwide events, in addition to a wide variety of other services. However throughout the changing of our concept, one thing has remained the same; the message that we stand for. For 23-years, African-American News & Issues has not strayed away from addressing and highlighting current and historical realities affecting our communities. Without fear or favor we have vowed to speak to and for our people. We don’t cut corners, we have not been bought out and we will not be bought out, we answer to no one and no one has the authority to forfeit our constitutional right to express ourselves through freedom of speech and press.

Concluding, I would just like to state that the African-American community as a whole, would truly be an impactful force to reckon with, if every African-American decided to “WAKE UP” at the same damn time. If our people would open their eyes and see what is going on right under our noses and get sick and tired enough to do something about it together, we who have been labeled as the “minorities” could really turn this nation around. But once again, this can only happen when Black folks realize that there is a seriously a need to “WAKE UP”! Finally, I would like to reference a quote by one of the most intellectual human beings that ever lived in our society, Albert Einstein. He said, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” With that being stated, “Wake Up Everybody!”

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