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Black History Month Voices: Earl El-Amin | Commentary

During February, Maryland residents are commemorating Black History Month by studying and celebrating the past. Meanwhile, what’s being called the racial reckoning of 2020 is barely in the rearview mirror. Those recent events — Black people killed by police and marches demanding systemic change — are prompting some Baltimore-area residents to explore what needs to be done to ensure there is substantial progress toward achieving racial justice and equity.

The Baltimore Sun asked residents: What will it take to move the region ahead in 2021 and beyond? Specifically what do they want to change, and how will they help make those changes happen? Each week this month, we will share some of their comments about how they hope to move forward after a tumultuous 2020.

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The essays have been edited for clarity and length.

Earl El-Amin, 69, resident imam, Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore; vice president, National Centers on Institutions and Alternatives

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Earl El-Amin, Resident Imam of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore.
Earl El-Amin, Resident Imam of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

I think the country is on the precipice of understanding that if it doesn’t solve its long-term problem with racial hypocrisy, it’s going to become a once-great country.

But I’m optimistic. I believe the solutions lie in doing more of what we at the mosque have been doing for years: reaching across divisions of race and faith to feed the hungry, to build strong neighborhoods, to develop stronger families.

It should be less about saying, “Well, Jesus said this” or “Mohammed said that,” and more about coming together to build on values at the crux of all flourishing civilizations. And I do think people are getting it.

Faith traditions will be working together more and more. Young people are more aware than ever and taking leadership roles. Goodness is on the rise.

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— Compiled by Jonathan Pitts

Read other Black History Month Voices essays

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