Where is the Next Generation?

jackson_fergusonsharpton fergusonWhere is the next generation of civil rights leaders in America? If events in Ferguson, Missouri over the last several days are any indication the answer is they are nowhere to be found. The same two tired faces, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, have made their cameo appearances, and those faces reveal an ongoing problem not just in the black community but across leadership positions in social justice: leaders fail to train their successors for fear of being replaced before they are ready to retire – and they are never ready to retire. The spotlight becomes a drug, with massive appeals to ego – and, sadly, there is no shortage of ego among today’s social justice leadership. Al Sharpton will be sixty years old in October and Jackson will be seventy three, but both look much older than they are. When they are finally done, who will assume the leadership positions, and how well-trained will they be? What this country doesn’t need is a vacuum in civil rights leadership while the next generation gets up to speed, but unless current leaders are able to lay their egos aside that is precisely what will happen, to the detriment of those they claim to care so much about.

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