#ALSIceBucketChallenge

 Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

 Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart


 Will Smith

Will Smith

     A phenomenon that has been sweeping the nation since July, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is rapidly gaining headlines as hundreds of thousands of people continue to participate.  Launched by Pat Quinn and Pete Frates (accredited), the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge promotes awareness for the neurodegenerative disease by calling for individuals to dump icy water over their head followed by a challenge to two to three friends on video to do the same within the next 24 hours -- or pay $100 to an ALS charity. (the rules continue to change as people interpret them differently.)  $42 million, and counting, has been successfully raised for the ALS Association.


Rules of Engagement:

 Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

1. You must be challenged to participate.

2. Accept the challenge.

3. Gather your materials:
              Bucket
              Ice
             Water
             Video Recorder

4. Film the act and upload it to your social media sites.
             Be sure to mention your name, who challenged you, your acceptance of the challenge, two to three people you want to nominate, the website alsa.org, and a mention that you will donate. As I stated earlier, the rules are unwritten and in some cases, when  participating, you are expected to STILL donate to the cause but NOT the full $100.

 

What is ALS?

 Sanaa Lathan

Sanaa Lathan

     ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As the motor neurons die, the brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, eventually leading to paralysis. The muscles begin to atrophy and all muscles with voluntary control are affected. After the muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, the ability to breathe on their own is lost and those affected with ALS eventually succumb to respiratory failure. 

 

 

The criticism

  • "It's a distraction from the Michael Brown case."
  • "It's not a disease that should concern Black people because 93% of individuals affected are White."
  • "People are unaware of what ALS is."
  • "People are only engaging in the ice bucket challenge for the popularity it has gained on social media."

      What seems to be nothing more than silly antics for a good cause, it has been brought to my attention that some African Americans are refusing to accept the challenge in light of the Michael Brown situation occurring in Missouri. They are calling this wave a distraction to divert attention away from police brutality that the African American community has been enduring. This to me is simply is far reaching and outlandish. As I was reading comments on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, my gears started grinding. Opposers are stating they have other important issues that deserve their attention but were/are riding the ice bucket wave to promote their own concerns. The way this is being done is not only hurtful to the African American community but to those affected with ALS. Opposers inadvertently discredit all the good accompanied with the ice bucket challenge by trying to advance their notions of race, which further magnifies the racial divide.

     As I told my little cousin, who has also respectfully declined his ice bucket challenge, disassociate your opposition with the ice bucket challenge and his assertions about Mike Brown and other social issues. The two are not connected and can occur parallel as other events do. I strongly do not believe that attention has been deflected from Michael Brown, or any other issues, because 15 seconds has been dedicated to dousing yourself with icy water. When those 15 seconds are up, we are refocusing on the travesty and how his murder can be brought to justice.

    At the end of the day, the ice bucket challenge was cleverly associated with ALS to increase awareness and raise money. It was strategically popularized by the use of social media. Do not knock it because you do not feel inclined to participate. So what if the disease received attention because of the ice bucket challenge's popularity? Let's not forget the fact that it's still getting the attention it so otherwise would not have. More and more people have become increasingly aware of this terminal disease. Donate. Participate. Or just go on your merry way.

I was challenged by Brianna Stallings,
and I gladly accept. I will also be donating to the cause.


Something to think about ...

     I challenge each African American, especially those opposers, to collaborate to formulate a way to increase awareness for the social issues you are advocating. Instead of talking about it, DO something. Create a wave so magnifying that it calls for unity in the African American community. Teach us African Americans how to interact with paid assassins (cops) who could care less about preserving human life. Find a way to engage and compel us to continue creating awareness and taking stands against injustice. Remind us that we live in a world governed by rules whether we like them or not, whether they are perceived as right or wrong. Because we violate these rules so often, cops will continue to get away with murder and we will continue to lose ourselves to these "justified" killings. I would be naive to tell you to find a way to overcome racism when racism will always exist as long as we continue to see color. However, be the one to start a change or a movement.

 

Please follow and support the #iftheygunnedmedown movement. This has the potential to be equally successful. Add a twist and nominate your friends to participate. Please google the hashtag.

 

 

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