The Impoverished Activist: Thoughts on the film, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

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“I’m tired of doing the impossible for the ungrateful.”

Roman J. Israel, Esq.


The Activist we imagine are the ones in the stars. The ones that have made a major name for themselves. They empower us with their speeches and lead thousands or even millions of people to focus on a particular social injustice. We often praise celebrities with the biggest donations and ignore the ones on the ground running who sometimes dedicate their lives to a cause. Though, we have to appreciate both because it takes work, money, and even an association with a certain class to rapidly progress.

The film, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” stirs up some conflicting emotions in the face of saving the black youth while denying your seat at the table.

Is it worth it?

In the film Roman says, “I’m tired of doing the impossible for the ungrateful.” He says this after decades of service following the closing of his partners law firm after he was announced brain dead. This was a law firm where they both indebted their lives to helping underserved black youth in the criminal justice system.

The business could barely pay for itself. Most of the clients did not have the funds to pay for their worth. But they did the impossible anyway—going far above and beyond to serve impoverished black youth with criminal charges. They hated to watch young black men and women be faced with harsh sentences and forcing them to plead guilty to minimize their risk. It’s no news that minorities get the book thrown at them and this is why minorities must make a conscious effort to stay away from the wrong people and situations as much as possible.

It’s unfortunate but it’s the way it is until enough work, money, and status penetrate the system from within.

Our great-great-grandchildren may experience the system better than us. That makes the work worth it. But it doesn’t mean that you deny yourself a seat. Because not only do you get to eat in that seat—your children and grandchildren get to eat from that seat. Not only is that seat going to feed your seed, but that seat is a stepping stone to penetrate the system with money and status. Because you have to pay to play. You have to be in it to win it.

While you’re making sure everyone has a plate, make sure you fix yours first because if you don’t they won’t. You deserve a balanced life and if you neglect yourself greed may speak in a moment of starvation. If you let greed simmer, your actions may result in an uproot of the good seed you’ve sowed.  All because while you were helping everyone else, you never helped yourself. You as well deserve the good life that you want everyone else to live.

You can have both.

You can do your part in progressing the system and also live a life where you are well off and in a better position to progress your family, legacy, and the world.

1 comments on “The Impoverished Activist: Thoughts on the film, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.””

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