Now that Black History Month is over I reflect on what messages I am supposed to take from the events, speakers, forums, articles, documentaries,,,, Did I learn anything new? Was a concrete plan of action to address those critical problems Black folks face surface? Or was I just fed the same ol line, by the same ol people, stating the same ol pitifull facts? I, for one was not impressed and have not been for a long time.
I attended events and watched shows as I have done for over 20 years. I have watched all of Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union telecasts. I have attended local forums, I have read the Urban League Reports and have even taken my own time to research and compile the existing statistics regarding Black folks and their records of unemployment, incarceration, poverty, academic performance, spending power, savings rates, pregnancies, giving to the church, giving to the united way’s, giving to their own Black organizations and institutions,,,, Whatever change that has happened came slow; and in many instances there was no change at all. Things got worse.
I came away from this Black History Month with what I feel as a clear understanding. I acknowledge I can’t rely on Black politics, CEO’s, Educators, athletes or entertainers to rise to the occassion to work as a unit. To wait any longer would just keep me frustrated and merely hoping change will come from the next president, mayor, councilperson, commissioner, senator, congress member,,,, would have me living on a prayer when only action will do.
So, if you are like me and feel that the time to take control of our destiny; with or without the help, aid or assistance by the elite (Black or White, Republican or Democrat), then the only course of ACTION to take is to live out what we have heard or what we hear from those thought-tanks that invade our minds every February. They give good advice, they simply aren’t going to do the heavy-lifting in ‘your’ community. They can come and speak, get paid a couple grand, and get back into their limo/plane and leave. You can be inspired but inspiration alone don’t incite or see significant change through to the end. Cornel West, Tavis, Jesse, Al, Sonya,,,, don’t have companies to employ all the Black folks needing jobs. They don’t provide or implement job training programs. They are not school district superintendents that can force change of curriculum and learning styles in any US classroom. They do not contribute to any localized programs in Kansas nor your own immediate community. So I respect their comments, but the fact is they bring no structural value to the street fight.
The best thing Black folks of conscious can do is to identify and support those efforts by Black folks that have the capacity to address particular parts of the overall problem.
One of the Urban League chapters has finally gotten it right. They are going to stop focusing their efforts and dollars to provide social services. Reason being is that there are already enough organizations doing just that. They look to focus their efforts, activities, and advocacy on economic development for empowerment purposes. If Black organizations really look at their local and state statistics, and see that apparently ‘their’ strategies are not working, then they should show they are smart enough to change course in order to be more effective and meet the unique challenges facing Black folks. Apparently, white America hasn’t a clue.
Problems facing Black folks in most part are indicators of failed past policies. Policies crafted by people with degrees, ex-corporate executive, educators, Black, White and other,,,, So, getting a high education and degree alone or being a former company executive does not guarantee the best people will be put in place or that their decisions will be in the best interest of Black folks. The best of our own educated class in government and companies can not effectively get policies, practices and procedures change that would create an equity longed for by Black America.
In Kansas there is the probability of a new Charter School in Kansas City Kansas, the Maurice Holman Academy of Excellence, and I believe it is our opportunity and responsibility to surplant that which the regular school system has failed to effectively do. And instead of waiting for big corporations to give only their money it is more appropriate that we take this as our chance to build the learning institutions needed to properly prepare our youth for tomorrows challenges, implement curriculums and processes that program our youth to suceed and be leaders in the community, and play the pivotal role of financing our own endeavors as one people concerned about their future. You will rarely see those few that are doing great works in the community on behalf of our people on a Tavis show or Oprah, but you can bet they are there. If not, then it’s up to you to show leadership.
We can let others drive us to be consumed to TV shows, shopping, clubbin, and complaining, and like an osterich we will stay oblivious to our environment. As sure as chickens will come home to roost, so will the Black youth of today become an adult. Statistacally speaking, are you really ready for that?
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