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Owning Our Identity: Embracing Our Heritage as Black American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS)


Black chess pieces against a flat white background.
The fight for equality is a game of chess not checkers.

Black people, listen up!


As a black American man, father, lawyer and advocate for justice, I am deeply committed to the fight for equality and equity for black Americans, especially for those who are descendants of slavery like me. This is a critical issue that cannot be ignored, and it's time for us to come together to take action.


For far too long, black American descendants of slavery (ADOS) have been marginalized and our voices drowned out by broader discussions of race and discrimination. In 2023, its not just the broader discussions of race and discrimination that are drowning out our voices as ADOS, but the issues of sexuality and gender identity are also taking center stage. This only further obscures the unique struggles and experiences of our community, and as a result, the specific needs and concerns of ADOS are often overlooked and ignored, even though we face ongoing challenges and inequalities as a result of our history and heritage.


It's time for us to stop allowing others to tell us what to care about, how to identify, and how to exist as black individuals. It's time to begin building towards obtaining reparations and justice for centuries of crimes and slavery. It's time for us to reclaim our identity and our voice, and to stand up for our rights and dignity as black American descendants of slavery. This is unacceptable, and it's time for us to exercise our rights and to stand up and be heard.


It is imperative that we recognize and identify as black American descendants of slavery, rather than simply as "African-American." This distinction is critical, as it allows us to more effectively advocate for the specific needs and concerns of our community. It also allows us to acknowledge the unique history and experiences of black Americans who are descendants of slavery, and to work together to address the ongoing legacy of discrimination and inequality.


Identifying as ADOS on the census and other official forms is important because it allows for a more accurate representation of our community. This, in turn, can have a significant impact on our political power and influence, as it helps to demonstrate the size and strength of our community. By accurately counting and acknowledging the experiences and contributions of ADOS, we can work towards achieving greater equity and representation in all areas of society. These are practical ways we can begin to affect change today without protesting, violence, or wasting calls for reform on deaf ears in Washington D.C.


We must also recognize that advocacy for ADOS must be more focused and targeted, rather than being subsumed under broader discussions of race and discrimination. This means working to create specific programs and initiatives that address the needs and concerns of our community, and using our collective voice and power to effect meaningful change.


But advocacy alone is not enough. We must also act with faith in one another, and build strong and supportive communities that are rooted in love and solidarity. This means working together, supporting one another, and lifting each other up, especially during these challenging times.


So let us rise up and take action. Let us recognize and identify as black American descendants of slavery, and let us advocate for our needs and concerns. Let us act with faith in one another, and build strong and supportive communities that will help us to achieve a brighter future for all black Americans.


Power to the people!


Attorney Sholdon Daniels






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