RACE AND BEYOND: The Enduring Legacy of Julian Bond

Julian Bond was such an omnipresent civil rights figure that I can’t remember the first or last time I saw him in person. During the 1980s and 1990s, at the height of my news reporting days, I had countless interviews with Bond, who seemed to enjoy the company of journalists—especially black ones like me. I appreciated the fact that unlike so many others who lived in the constant glare of the public’s curiosity, he answered questions patiently, often with an insight into the civil rights history that he had played a part in writing.

It seems now, upon hearing news of his death, that I thought he would always be somewhere nearby or just a phone call away. Maybe that’s why I never felt an urgency to celebrate Bond’s frequent comings and goings as they intersected with my own life and work: I assumed he’d be around forever. I’m sad to have been so wrong.

At the end of a charmed life filled with an array of struggles and accomplishments, Bond died last Saturday in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, of complications of vascular disease, his wife Pamela Sue Horowitz toldThe New York Times. He was 75.

Bond was a fixture in the civil rights constellation. He burst into public life in the early 1960s as a preternaturally handsome and youthful Morehouse College student, who dropped out to co-found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, an upstart youth-led organization that challenged racist restrictions on public accommodations and voting rights.

From his early days as a leader and spokesman for SNCC, Bond worked tirelessly both inside and outside the halls of American power, serving in the Georgia legislature and eventually becoming chairman of the NAACP. He was, to use an old-fashioned term, something of a renaissance man. Or as The New York Times’ obituary described him, “a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.”

It’s tempting—and easy—to herald his sad, sudden, and surprising death as the end of something. But what has ended? The traditional civil rights era? Or the 1960s, a decade that was marked by the imposing strategy of sit-in protests? Or perhaps it’s the end of respectability politics—as it’s often derided by the restless youth of today—which seeks to work within existing power structures to bring about social change.

I don’t believe that Bond’s death should be viewed in such a finite way. Instead, his life should serve as a road map for social change—one that can’t easily be folded and put away simply because he is no longer among us to lead the charge.

Much like Bond’s SNCC of half a century ago, a new generation of young, energetic activists have taken to the streets today under the banner of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The similarities are strikingly similar. Black Lives Matter activists have challenged traditional political leaders to include racial justice at the forefront of their platforms. That’s in the style of SNCC, which was far more aggressive and confrontational in demanding the desegregation of lunch counters and the registration of black voters across the South than the more cautious NAACP of its day.

It’s too early to make definitive statements about the success or failure of Black Lives Matter. Perhaps, in time and through struggle, a striking figure in the mold of Julian Bond will emerge from the Black Lives Matter protests. This leader may seek to move from bullhorn agitation to voting compromise and collaboration within the larger political system.

To be sure, nobody in 1961 could have imagined how young, smart, and articulate Julian Bond’s life would unfold. The same may be said of the emerging leadership of Black Lives Matter. Regardless of what ultimately comes of the contemporary movement, however, there is a lesson to be learned, remembered, and taught from Bond’s historic legacy.

In a remarkable 2013 interview with my Center for American Progress colleague Heidi Williamson, Bond explained that he never imagined where his activism would lead, only that he thought it critical to engage in changing the nation for the better:

We didn’t plot it; we didn’t plan it. We didn’t say, “Now let’s work on this issue. Now let’s work on that issue.” The issues seemed to come to us. And we grappled with them and said, “Here is the best way to go about this thing. Here’s poverty. Here’s hunger. Here’s something else. Here’s absence of voting rights. Here’s inability to sit at the lunch counter.” All these things are both separate and connected. And we can easily handle them all if we develop a thoughtful campaign to do so. And we did.

I heard him say similar things many times over the decades. Indeed, what I learned from Bond through years of observation and countless conversations is that the struggle for equality is a never-ending journey. And it assuredly won’t stop with this singularly noble activist’s passing.

Sam Fulwood III is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Director of the CAP Leadership Institute. His work with the Center’s Progress 2050project examines the impact of policies on the nation when there will be no clear racial or ethnic majority by the year 2050.

*For more information or to speak with Mr. Fulwood, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at tarditi@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6258.

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How the death of my friend changed how I see this world

Victory Over Violence: How the death of my friend changed how I see this world

BlackWomanOutside

I still find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that one of my friends isn’t alive anymore. I don’t like to say he was killed the way cancer or disease or car accidents kill the body. He didn’t just die like people do when they get older or have a heart attack or stroke. My friend was murdered. His life was taken from him by another life. My life-long friend Victor was shot and killed in a parking lot in Newport News, Virginia. He was only 23 years old and would’ve turned 24 just weeks after the shooting. He was a father and a friend. Now he is another nameless face on the list of victims of gun violence in my city and in this country.

VictorThere will be no marches in the street for Victor. His mother won’t be invited to the White House. The President isn’t going to cry on national television over his death. The world will never know the young man who always kept people laughing, who was always trying to have fun, and who had unconditional love for his young son. And the people who did know him will never know the man he could’ve grown to be. And its a shame, really. It’s a shame that violence like this is too common to make a big deal of it each time a person gets shot in the street.

When someone gets killed in this country, I think we get sad for a few minutes then eventually get on with our lives. I don’t want that to happen in Victor’s case. It’s so easy for us to turn a blind eye to all of the violence going on around us all of the time. The violence against young people in our communities, especially young people of color, is like a modern-day lynching. Just as crowds gathered around the bodies hanging from trees, today’s Americans stand idly by as our young people are slain in parking lots in Virginia, while walking home in Florida, in public parks in Chicago, and in elementary schools in Connecticut.

We are a nation in denial about what is happening in our front yards, right before our eyes. We legitimize this violence in the name of our Constitutional rights. But the issue of “gun control” is not a political issue, it is a moral one. No person who values life can value the usage of guns and weapons. A gun’s only function is to take life away. Despite what advocates for weapons may say, protecting someone’s right to bear arms is not more important that protecting the people’s right to life. But even with all of the horrific and bloody murders that take place in the country, we still can’t seem to put a face to the lost lives and protect those who are still living. But Victor’s face will always be in my mind.

At his wake, I held Victor’s mother and we cried while looking down at his face for the last time. But I keep thinking that he wasn’t the only life that was lost that night. While one mother has to bury her son, another mother will have her son put in jail for a senseless murder. That’s the life cycle of murder in our communities: One body goes in the ground, another body goes in a jail cell. Who wins in this scenario? We are living in a culture in which young men have a need to prove themselves to a society that tells them that “you aren’t a man” if you let yourself get punked. When someone steps on your shoe, looks at your girlfriend or boyfriend, posts on your Facebook page or what have you, we feel we have no choice but to react. There’s a hopelessness to this lifestyle. We get into arguments and allow our anger to escalate to the point when the only way to solve a problem is to end a life. So many self images are warped by false ideals of what it takes to be a “real man”.

Victor was a man. He was a loyal friend. He was a selfless father. He was one of the funniest, hyperactive, brutally honest people I’ve ever known. He was an athlete, a college graduate, and natural comedian. He tried to make a joke out of every stressful situation. He didn’t need to use violence or anger to get what he wanted out of life. I know there are others who aren’t able to see another way to live their lives without arguments, fighting, and guns. Funerals, drive-bys, and constant crime is the reality for too many of our young people. We’re exposed to violence which makes it easier for us to transcend into violent lifestyles ourselves. I’m sure in some cases, a gun seems like the only thing in life that you can use to escape the frustrating restrictions of life in our communities. We have unemployment, lack of interest in school, and such a comical ease in getting weapons, our young people turn to violence as a outlet for brief control in a society that automatically writes them off.

Victor was very young when he succumbed to his fate. He would have celebrated his 24th birthday just 5 weeks after the shooting that took his life. Although I’d like to think he’s still turning up at a birthday party somewhere in the universe, he is not here to celebrate with his friends and family who continue to mourn his loss. One bullet took away that birthday. Unfortunately, this is the fate that seems to awaits many young black men. Violence is not definitely not just a black issue, but it cannot be denied that violent crimes plague areas with high black populations like an incurable disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide is the leading cause of death for Black men ages 15-19. Is that shocking to anyone besides me?

Apparently not. Shortly after the news broke of another fatal shooting in Hampton Roads, my fellow citizens took to the Internet ready to criticize the victims in the shooting that took Victor’s life. Comments like: “not shocked by another murder on the Peninsula” … “I do wonder, how have you lived your life?” … “keep wanting to live like a gangsta you’re gonna die like one” made me want to cry. We blame others for having to live life in a violent depression instead of trying to find a solution. We don’t help the ex-offenders in our communities resimilate into society. We don’t press upon our children the doors that education can open for them. We shame our single mothers away from getting government assistance so their families turn to crime to provide for their basic needs. We suffer from an endless stream of disappointments that cause us to react violently in desperation.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on guns, life in “the ‘hood”, the Constitution, or even what really happened the night Victor lost his life. But I know we’ll never make progress if we keep allowing the lack of opportunities in our neighborhoods to make us to feel hopeless and worthless. That’s how we break this cycle and claim victory over violence: We reclaim the value of life. We show our young people all of the doors an education can open for them. We press upon others how much more courage it takes to be “weak” and to not react. We help others who need help, instead of making them feel ashamed. Jimmy Greene, father of 6 year old Ana Grace who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting said it best: “we’re so consumed by the political fight…what about the fight for our children”. We are indeed in a fight for our lives. At the end of the day, our political standpoints won’t protect us. Our young people need to have a shot at a life filled with success, not a shot through the body with a bullet.

I see all of my friends and family posting to social media “Live4Vick”, “RIPVick”, “Gone but not forgotten” and the other typical mantras used to commemorate a lost life. But I sincerely hope we never forget Victor or the others wounded and killed by unnecessary violence in this country. I hope we do live our lives for these fallen souls and stop taking lives away. The best way I can honor Victors memory is to never forget what happened to him. We all can use our gifts to uplift the hopeless young man who sees a gun as the only way to control what goes on around him. We can control our emotions when we begin to get angry about little things. We can try to love instead.

I titled this piece “Victory over Violence” in memory of my friend Victor and also in the hope that one day this nation and people of color will rise above our tendencies to hurt one another. I know nothing we do will bring back the loved ones we’ve lost. But we should not allow ourselves or others to forget what happened to the ones we’ve lost. We have to really live for those who’ve died. We may never have a true victory over violence, but everyday we can make progress towards a more peaceful existence.

 

Jolie A. Doggett is a 22-year-old blogger from Hampton, VA currently living in the DC Metro Area. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012. Since them, Jolie’s worked with Sirius XM Radio, National Public Radio, Patch.com, The National Congress of Black Women, and more.

Her musings on race, gender, and the 21st century have been featured on numerous blogs and websites, including her personal site, JolieDoggett.com. Her goal is to continue writing and to expand her social commentary into documentary film making. Her passions include Harry Potter, Chipotle, afro puffs, and volunteering in elementary schools.

 

 

 

How Politics, Racism and Facebook Ended My 16-Year Friendship

facebook-racism

This Christmas I will not be speaking to my friend of 16 years.  Why???  Well after years of reading his Facebook posts I slowly and painfully discovered that my white friend was a racist. Initially I tried to ignore it but as an African American man I could no longer stomach his increasingly toxic, race fueled comments that were initially veiled as just boisterous, conservative rhetoric. After debating him online for years over politics, race and social topics I finally had an epiphany. I could no longer excuse “Adam” by brushing him off as being a hyper-conservative republican. His truth was undeniable. However, I chose not to confront Adam about it, instead I quietly un-friended him on Facebook. Weeks later he confronted me and unloaded a barrage of online insults accusing me of being the actual racist and a “radical” for calling out discrimination, something I’ve aggressively done for years on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and on my personal blog/website.

Initially I blamed Facebook and the bold frontier of social media, a place where like-minded individuals are able to find strength in numbers in pack like mentality as the source of Adam’s racism.  But after deeper reflection I believe it is the rising public influence of social media combined with an unconscious internal racial/class angst within Adam and many other white Americans that has now spewed to the surface with the election and re-election of the nation’s first Black President, Barack Obama.

Our Friendship
handshake

Adam and I are about two years or so apart in age, both from the state of Alabama, both attended The University of Alabama although we didn’t know each other in college.  Four years later we bumped into each other in Atlanta where we both worked for the same company.  We vaguely recognized each other, discovered our mutual roots, college friends and quickly bonded as friends ourselves.  Oddly, our racial differences didn’t seem to matter especially since we both hailed from a state richly steeped in a tradition of hatred, slavery, Jim Crow segregation and racial discrimination.

Our twenties quickly turned into our thirties as we both chased our careers crisscrossing the nation with eight moves and five cities between us but we always stayed in touch. I remember once when I was going through financial challenges in Los Angeles, Adam gave me a financial gift to keep me going.  So we weren’t just causal buddies, we were genuine friends.

The Change Began in 2008

2009 Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

It was the election of America’s first Black President that was the initial trigger.  Adam’s criticism of the President, the economy and its sluggish growth, high unemployment along with his 2012 staunch support of Mitt Romney for president and his criticism of Obamacare is what blew open the divide between us.   Although these online conflicts are common between social media users and their “friends,” our conflict was much different and far deeper.

We weren’t just men hiding behind computer screens and mouse pads.  We were real life friends who shared secrets, hosted each other in our homes, supported, advised and even prayed for one another.  Now we were at odds with each other via social media and it was about to get much worse. As the great recession lingered, Adam became unemployed for a long time and felt significant angst about his place in the world and ability to sustain himself. He increasingly blamed Pres. Obama for not fixing the economy fast enough.  Meanwhile I was forced to completely abandon my media consulting small business in order to run back to a corporate 9-5 job when my client base dried up.  But instead of blaming Pres. Obama I blamed his predecessor Pres. George W. Bush along with the Republican led filibustering within the US Senate which blocked crucial jobs bills which would have grown the economy faster.  So our initial online clashes were over who really was to blame for our forced and dramatic career changes and life shifting situations.

By 2012 Adam was unabashedly lifting talking points from far right leaning FOX News network and spewing them across his Facebook feed without an ounce of criticism towards his own Republican party for its constant obstructionism, filibustering of key legislation and judicial nominations along with its gerrymandering of voting districts to seize control of the House of Representatives. He never addressed the conservative led 36 state Voter-ID “suppression” efforts which sought to reduce early voting, the number of hours to vote, plus stopped voter registration drives and blocked students at private historically black colleges and other universities from voting in the states where they attended school.

We soon became caricatures or perhaps archetypes of Facebook.  He was now a reliably grouchy Republican poster child stating how he wanted his country as he posted a picture of how red America’s voting districts really were but how we have a Democratic President and controlled Senate.  And I would fly in on his Facebook posts like a true blue Liberal Superman countering that much of the red on his voting map represented land based districts and NOT people filled districts not to mention the epic 2010 republican gerrymandered districts on federal and state levels. He soon started to attack immigrants and specifically Latinos when he posted how it felt being a white minority living in certain parts of Los Angeles and seeking out other white people.

But then it really got ugly!! In another post he tried to bash current day immigrants stating how his family migrated to America several generations ago and became productive citizens and that he demanded better from others in “my” country today. I angrily countered that my family had been in this country far longer than his since my descendants came on the slave ship Clotilde which docked in Mobile, AL in 1859. I informed him that Blacks have been in America since the 1600s in Jamestown, VA as slaves and that America really wasn’t “his” country but that he and his family were the true immigrants in America.In another Facebook rant Adam went after the poor chastising them for having too many children and for being on welfare, forgetting that he too was unemployed for a very long time and needed assistance. He also went after a women’s right-to-choose and gays with same-sex marriage stating there were far more important issues to tackle.True to red-state formation, Adam embraced only fiscal issues, rejected social justice topics and the hyphenation of America and instead longed for an era in which white straight men ruled America; an era which Adam never lived however generations later he unknowingly reaped the benefits of it through his white privilege.

Similarly I never lived in an era where blacks were captive to slavery and segregationist Jim Crow laws but I still felt the disadvantages and hurdles growing up and becoming an African American man trying to understand why it seemed so much harder for me to succeed even though I tried, worked and networked three times harder as my white counterparts both in business and within the workplace.Adam and I both felt internal angst about America and achieving the American dream but in two very different directions.  While Adam’s angst and path is often sympathized, even lauded at times, my angst and path is often discounted, demonized and scoffed as being simply excuses.

Were we really ever friends???

Adam and I represent a microcosm of American society and its growing chasm and obsession with race and class.  It’s a battle between a dying demographic (white conservatives) versus a young, growing, dynamic, multi-ethnic, multi-racial demographic which when combined with women, gays, elderly and the poor are finally having their issues and voices heard and addressed.

There’s a belief by the former group that somehow they are losing something when other groups gain their rights or have their grievances addressed.  They fear they might be retaliated against once all avenues of politics, business and social dealings are no longer brokered by themselves.  It is a fear I believe is striking at the center of Adam’s heart.

Today neither one of us is swayed by the other’s arguments and we exist as polar opposites in the world. So is our 16 year friendship worth saving? The answer for me  this Christmas is I’m not so sure.

HerndonDavisHerndon L. Davis is a former media activist turned corporate schmuck .  He can be reached at herndondavis@aol.com and at www.youtube.com/HLDATL.

Article originally posted on: http://herndondavis.blogspot.com

Blacks Can’t Wait On the President

Photo Credit:
Change.org

Where do we go after the second election of President Barack Obama?

I want it to be known, that I’m proud to have Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America. I’m proud of his ability to lead and to be a role model. That being said, Blacks Cannot Wait on President Obama to make things better for them. President Obama has written another historic chapter in American history. The shift of cultural acceptance has happened in the political spectrum of this country. The people have spoken by their votes. This will be the second term for President Obama’s administration and his family.

It should be known that even though America still has a Black President the House of Representatives and Congress may still be controlled by Republicans. This will make another four (4) years a challenge to make continued progressive change in our country. The reality is there is still prejudice and racism in America, not in the gross levels that the news media attempts to show. If racism was so bad I do not believe that President Obama would be our President for another four years, voting creates change. This shows that even the media must be scrutinized for their political views and the influence they try to generate in society.

My direction in the blog is: Where do Blacks go from here? Where do Blacks go, what direction economically, educationally and politically should be traveled? Blacks have the best role model that they could have, a Black President and truly unmistakably a Black First Lady in Michelle Obama. The most powerful Black man in the Free world, the Commander in Chief of the most technologically sophisticated and weaponized military in the world. He is a product of the educational system of the United States, struggled in school, was bullied, and not the best student all the time. He shares this with other students as he speaks at schools around the country, and takes the time to build students up to see their potential to become greater than he.

This is the ultimate role model, one who acknowledges his flaws and weaknesses and always works to pull the youth up to pass his accomplishments in the future. So why are too many Blacks still caught in mental and emotional slavery claiming there are no good role models? Even Jacksonville, Florida has a great role model in Mayor Alvin Brown; he is visible in the community, supportive of public education and sets a good example as a father, husband, community activist and supporter of progressive growth for all people, but Blacks should see him as a guide to the importance of education and self-improvement.

Similar actions and events took place in1964, Cleveland OH in a different venue, but with the same challenges for Blacks. What has happened to The Negro Revolt and Where Do We Go From Here? or What Next? This was stated by Malcolm X, the same person who went through a transformation from thug, hustler, drug dealer, gambler and other societal deviations to a man that educated himself, became a father, leader and role model.

Don’t look down on this man, because some of our politicians, priests, preachers, bishops and even educators have past lives that may remain hidden from us. Malcolm X statement that, “In my little humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the ballot or the bullet.” This reference is addressing the political situation of Blacks during the turbulent times of the sixties and seems to be present in the 21st century. What has changed?

During the sixties there was no Barack Obama making eloquent, intellectual and moving speeches there was Adam Clayton Powell Minister Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, Dr. Martin Luther King, Atlanta, Georgia, Asa Philip Randolph, Jacksonville, Florida, Civil Rights Activist, Rutledge Pearson, Jacksonville, Florida Civil Rights Activist and Reverend Galamison Minister in New York to name a few involved in the school boycotts to eliminate segregated education. These were real people with dedication and a vision to make progressive change to benefit Blacks. Their legacy will live, but too many Blacks have forgotten them.

There have always been role models for Black men and women, but truth be told Blacks must take responsibility and accountability to make progressive change by unifying. Making a commitment that needs to last beyond street protests, religious radicalism, songs, dance, videos, raps and pledges.

The commitment that lasts beyond the doors of churches on Sunday mornings designed to make Blacks “feel good” and accept their plight of second class citizens, diminishing political power, and dwindling economic development. Where do Blacks go now that the jubilation and excitement is over? The time to work is now, the time to establish a vision and mission is now. Civic and community problems still are alive and well, in order to solve these challenges it will take the collective wills and hard work that was found during the 50’s to 80’s. That self-determination seems to have died; evaporated even as the lyrics of “We Shall Over Come” have evaporated from the minds of millions of Blacks because of their perceived freedoms that are as transparent as their abilities to seek to improve themselves. How can a people that died for the right to be educated look down and curse education?

Satisfied in too many cases to live month to month on welfare, food stamps and a third class education. Complaining because they are so use to getting a third class handout that their cries seem to sound like the cries of slaves that accepted their servitude with exuberance and satisfaction. The comments by Malcolm X rings truthful even in the 21st century, “it’s time for us to submerge our differences and realize that it is best for us to first see that we have the same problem, a common problem, a problem that will make you catch hell.” So called Black political leaders complain, blame, degrade and demean President Obama, but my question is after all these years, why have THEY not motivated Blacks to improve their lives instead of blaming President Obama? Why are they not visiting inner city schools, homeless shelters, welfare lines, food stamp facilities to work to give a hand up not lip service and empty promises?

How can our religious leaders lay claim to being like Jesus or disciples when they tear down President Obama, lyrically damning him just as Judas Iscariot sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of gold? President Obama is not Jesus, but he represents our country to the world. He should be respected, held accountable, but not openly disrespected. Why wait for a Black man that is supposed to be the President of the United States, not the President of just Blacks. Many people will disagree with me, but that is the beauty of living in the nation of freedoms, we can agree to disagree and not be jailed, beaten or killed like in other countries.

I agree that President Obama must be held accountable, but he cannot cure all the social ills that plague Blacks. Just as our economy was destroyed by someone else, Blacks have allowed themselves to be castrated physically, psychologically, economically and educationally by blaming others for their inaction, inattention, and ignorance. If you do not believe me, look at our inactive parents that refuse to come to parent-teacher conferences, look at the lack of support for school PTO’s, School Advisory Councils that need parents to participate and support, and listen to the excuses that drown out the cries of screaming babies as girls lay on their backs and make babies, but refuse to respect teachers and learn to read to improve their lives first before spreading their legs to become impregnated and again spreading the same legs to give birth to illegitimate children. Don’t be mad at me for the truth, what would Dr. King say now???

The cycle continues each generation, becoming a slave to welfare and drowning deeper in Hellfare and poverty. Too many Black boys would rather rap, dance, be comedians and sag than engage in learning. They bully their peers that want to be intellectuals, scholars, scientists, educators, politicians. Too many Black young men would rather be hard and ignorant instead of educated and empowered. Anthony Butler, Jr, Founder of E3 Business Group displays a unique change during his transformation in his unique presentation that shows how you can grow from thug to entrepreneurial. This empowering presentation should be seen by all Black youth, “Accuse Yourself of Success!” http://e3businessgroup.com/

Malcolm X made a profound statement that we all catch hell, ”whether you’re educated or illiterate, whether you live on the boulevard or in the alley, you’re going to catch hell.”
“We’re all in the same boat and we all are going to catch the same hell.” The idea is
“If we have differences, let us differ in the closet; when we come out in front, let us not have anything to argue about until we finish making progressive and lasting changes in Black people.

It should not take the death of Trayvon Martin or any more young Black men or women to unify people against injustices in the criminal system and self hatred in our communities. It should not take the threat of cutting welfare, diminishing of food stamps and elimination of governmental handouts for Blacks to finally get they need EDUCATION, Are Blacks like the Hebrews wondering the desert until several generations die before God can use them? IS that to be our legacy for the next centuries?

Blacks Can’t Wait On the President: The President has made numerous speeches to what end?
Blacks have to WANT to change, WANT to work to be better, WANT to have political and economic equality. Until then Blacks will be politically, economically and educationally weak and ignored. Blaming others even those they elect to fix social challenges that are decades old.

Change can only come from within, when Blacks are tired of being beaten into economic slavery of poverty, the slavery of psychological ignorance of accepting failure in schools, enjoying the self destruction of drugs in their communities, the visual slavery of music videos that glorify free sex, cultural violence, the slavery of producing children that are born into ignorance and taught ignorance, will learn ignorance and stay ignorant until they are jailed or killed and companies make money from them as incarcerated slaves… If you are angry good, go out and volunteer at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, the library to teach people to read. Go to your child’s school and support teachers not curse them out for trying to teach your child. Tutor and mentor a young person, take yourself back to school for a skill or a degree. If you cannot do these simple things to better a better person then you are always a part of the problem and not part of the solution.

The institution of slavery is still present and strong, but instead of the fields there is Hellfare, Drugfare, Sexfare, and denial ending in death and destruction.

Blacks Can’t Wait On The President

William Jackson, M.Ed.
Educator, Speaker,
Mentor, Father
Community Activist

Blame Yourself

“If you don’t have a job and if you’re not rich blame yourself.” Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain stated these words in a recent interview discussing the Occupy Wall Street protests. He also goes on to state that people should not be jealous of others’ success. According the Cain, if you didn’t succeed in life its all your fault. I understand that Cain is trying to get people to be more accountable for their own actions. There is some truth to his statement. At times we blame others for our own misfortunes instead of taking into account our own mistakes. However, when discussing the big banks of Wall Street and how common people have suffered in the recession, it is unfair to dismiss their strife as “jealousy”. What about the oppression, elitism, and discrimination that has plagued America for centuries? These definitely affect the socio-economic statuses of many Americans, especially African Americans.

One documentary in particular, unknowingly highlights this. Born Rich is a documentary that has interviews with the people that we would call the 1% (the wealthiest people in the world). Throughout the course of the interviews, it’s easy to see that many of the rich families became wealthy during time periods that African descendants were forced to work as slaves, sharecroppers and low-wage workers. While the children of the wealthy families inherited the wealth (centuries later) without having worked for it at all; the children of the poor families inherited the poverty at no fault of their own. Its not a simple matter of who works harder. Many times its a matter of who was born into the “right” family, race, gender and economic class. Thus the effects of inequalities are passed on to new generations. Its kind of like a cycle. These type of cycles can be ended but it takes a very very long time. This is a fact of society that can not be ignored or disregarded.

Though we are born with various inequalities, the goal is to make society better for the whole, not “privileged” parts. Because of the historical privileges allotted to wealthy corporations and banks, many people are feeling disheartened as they struggle to pay their mortgages, find a job and put food on the table. I think this is the crust of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is not about being “jealous” or “envious” it is about desiring a better life and pressuring the government to stop catering to certain privileges that are costing common citizens hundreds of millions of dollars. To a degree, I do understand Cain’s sentiment. Hard work should be valued and does help with achieving success. However, preexisting inequalities are highly relevant and should be taken seriously.

J.A.M.

Jessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of Black Bloggers Connect. Mitchell specializes in multicultural outreach and communications. She also writes on her personal blog at OurLegaci.com. To reach JAM email her at info@OurLegaci.com.

 

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Michelle Obama in Haiti…A Necessary Journey to Black Land

Michelle Obama’s Surprise Visit to Haiti

 This Tuesday, Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to Haiti. For security reasons, this trip was not made public but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. She has haters of course but who cares? I’m rebuking their hate and replacing it with our love. Why does this trip matter so much? Because like many disasters, people worldwide rush to aid a cause but over time donations begin to become less and less. We need to remember that the devastating earthquake that took and ravaged the lives of many Haitians was only 3 months ago. Although, U.S. citizens donated approximately $1 billion of aid for Haiti, there is still much more that needs to be done.

As Michelle Obama pointed out, the rainy season is nearing and Haitian people are still camping out in Port-au-Prince. Many people are living in tents and are in need of food and water. The devastation is not over. We can not let this escape our minds just because it isn’t getting the same amount of television time. The citizens of Haiti still need basic life necessities like food, shelter, and water. Some organizations like Syracuse University’s Black Graduate Student Association raised money to purchase tents for people before rainy season begins. Providing a source of shelter could prevent the spread of diseases like the flu and pneumonia. This could prevent unnecessary deaths in the near future.

Pastor Shaun King of the Courageous Church in Atlanta, GA has also started a campaign to provide shelter to Haitians. In response to the devastation, he launched a website called http://www.ahomeinhaiti.org.  By mid February of this year he raised enough money to send over 1100 tents to Haiti. He stated, “We’ve provided over 1100 tents, and let me tell you how big of a deal that is. The entire country of France pledged to send 1000 tents.” So the efforts of this Atlanta church family has already exceeded far beyond an entire “first” world country. His ultimate goal is to send 200,000 waterproof tents. Pastor Shaun King and his congregation is just one example of the work that is still going on.

Over 230,000 people died and many survivors suffered traumatic injuries. About 200,000 lost limbs and have undergone amputations. Now they are in need of further medical attention and prosthetic limbs. Members of the medical community are already starting to take notice. For example, The Shriners hospital in Philadelphia is currently offering free medical care to 3 Haitian girls that lost limbs during the earthquake.

In response to other needs, Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti has given out approximately 84,000 hot meals and 700,000 gallons of clean water. Wyclef is also building what he calls Yele village. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer that it will include a school, medical center, orphanage, kitchen, and job search assistance. This is a great start! But with all of our help more and more can be done everyday. 

I know that times are hard for everyone but we have to remember our Haitian brothers and sisters. They still need our help. So please find a way to continue donating or sending things they need. Find a local Haiti food or tent drive and be sure to participate in it. If not, start your own or donate to Haiti relief organizations online. I am definitely going to be putting some of my money aside for http://www.yele.org or www.ahomeinhaiti.org.

Love,

 Jam-the-lbg