In high school, the seniors would leave the bad food or calculus teacher to the rising seniors in their last will and testament. And although comical, oftentimes there was a grain of truth in the humor.
Legacy is what we do not tend to contemplate upon on a daily basis for it reminds us that we are not here to stay.
But our work -- what we do and what we don't do -- remain as our testament and as our legacy to our children -- our progeny for generations to come.
To build a legacy requires both commitment and involvement. We have often heard the story of the pig that provides the side of bacon as breakfast as committed, and the hen who lays the egg as involved. But a person, organization or community must first possess the will to create something of value worth leaving, thus a legacy, for those who come behind.
In its 98-year history as the oldest civil rights organization in the nation, the NAACP has built a legacy that expresses our longstanding commitment and involvement to bring about social justice in America.
Whether in urban centers, mid-size communities or rural towns, NAACP members have been the boots on the ground to bring America closer to her ideals.
As the campaign against lynching served as a rallying cry for NAACP in 1909, today's landscape calls for us to cross lines of race, class, gender, language and geography to build One North Carolina.
For it is a matter of national security that every child has a first-class education, every wage earner has a livable wage, every senior can afford medicine, every worker has rights, any student can go to college, that all of our communities are safe, and that all of us have economic parity and justice in the courts.
Throughout the decades, NAACP's living legacy has remained to be our volunteers -- both youth and adult who tirelessly work for justice in their respective communities paying the price, against the odds while accumulating principled victories.
I urge you to join your local NAACP branch in its efforts to "Build a Legacy" and use the key -- involvement -- to change outcomes, close gaps, and eradicate racism for a brighter future.
It is up to us. What kind of legacy do we want to leave our children? Hasten to answer the call.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when? -- Rabbi Hillel
Contact by email: turner at naacpnc.org (replace "at" with "a").
-- Amina Turner, executive director, North Carolina NAACP.