“Strong people don’t need strong leaders. Give light and people will find the way.”
I find inspiration in all the things around me. As someone who was born to tell my story, majority of my inspiration comes from the stories of others; the people before me who made it possible for my journey to even take place.. My trailblazers. There is no trailblazer much like Ella Baker. The sister graduated from Shaw University in 1927, valedictorian of her class. Can you say goals? The more I dived into her political background, the more I simply began to fall in love.
Ella Josephine Baker was born December 13, 1903 in Virginia. Ella was made aware of social injustices very early on, listening to the stories of her grandmother’s experiences as a slave. It was these stories that would plant the seeds of her fight to social justice in Amerikkka.
After graduation, she began joining social activists organizations, including YNCL, NAACP, & SCLC. Her experience in these organizations led her to organize and lead the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in April of 1960. SNCC remains one of the most notorious human rights activism groups in North America. This all stemmed from a vision, and her fearless efforts to dream big.
I love her so much because she criticized the culture of social hierarchy within social organizations. She believed that no one member was more important or more relevant than another. This philosophy made her following grow rapidly, people believe in her vision because they trusted her.
Ella Baker worked diligently as a change agent to enact social reform through persistent activism. She was an actual leader, fighting the fight on the ground and behind the scenes. She was so directly involved because she knew the key to the movement was young, emerging leaders.
Ella and I agree on this point. The youth is the future. If we are able to instill the fundamentals of self-love, African love and love of our culture into the youth, they will become assets and resources to the efforts of rebuilding our communities.
She was a sister that was designed by her purpose and led by her light. She was crafted by the Creator, planted here for us. She serves as a guiding light for all Pan-African people interested in social, political and economic reform.
Fundi in Swahili means a person who teaches a craft to the next generation.