16 Dec A New Black Nationalist Agenda
The Pew Research Report and many like it are reflections of a powerful reality. Whether the results are articulated on the street corner, in the living rooms of our homes, on a public stage by Bill Cosby, via syndicated radio by Tom Joyner, or on national TV by Tavis Smiley; whether a discussion by the talking heads that appear on CNN, and NPR, on syndicated Black talk radio, and the traditional mouthpieces of the Black community like Al and Jesse, The NAACP , Urban League, 100 Black Men, the Panthers, UNIA-ACL, NBLC, or The Nation of Islam, or Corporate offices with glass ceilings -- these voices are shouting in unison all the elements of the New Black Agenda.
I believe it is possible to find resonance in these voices to craft and "reflect" -- not create anew -- the New Black Agenda. Tavis took a good stab at it with The Covenant with Black America. In my view, this is a start towards a galvanizing effort. There are other approaches. I think this approach provides a good framework from which to start. This is not a statement about personalities, but a platform for meaningful discussion. I believe this discussion has been ineffective because it is centered around a few personalities, and does not seek to pull together a comprehensive perspective on the dialog. Every effort should be made to include grassroots organizations like those mentioned below. When observed in the aggregate, a powerful mobilization can be seen that can serve as a rallying cry across the nation.
At a local level, there are many projects that are working. The Black Star Project in Chicago works; IBSA works in Topeka, Kansas; Urban Prep Academy works in Chicago; The Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba Charter School works in West Palm Beach, Florida; The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York works. This new agenda must include the nationalists, integrationists, progressives, popular culture, business leaders, religious leaders, social activists, and Pan Africanists. We must find within us the flame that burns from the farthest reaches of our history, and resist assimilation with all our might. Unfortunately, what this really means is that many must be de-programmed. The point is that we are all marching toward the same goal from different directions. We must be unified in purpose, though our tactics may vary.
I would like to say I have THE ANSWER, but I only have the perspective of history. We live in the information age. It doesn't take two years like the Juneteenth announcement to slaves in Texas. It takes a genuine look at what works -- the Tuskegee Movement worked; the Garvey Movement worked; The Nation of Islam worked; the formation of the National Urban League and NAACP worked; The Montgomery Boycott worked; the Freedom Rides worked; the March on Washington worked; the Voting Rights Bill worked; the Public Accommodations Bill worked; Brown vs. Topeka Bd. of Education worked. It is not impossible to find the threads of success that helped to weave these actions into successful outcomes -- then create a New Black Agenda from the effort. This is the agenda that should be reflected in the Congressional Black Caucus Agenda. This is the agenda that should be reflected by the National Conference of Black Mayors.
The thing we must overcome, most importantly, is the tendency toward division -- the middle class vs. the lower class; the educated vs. the uneducated; the suburbanites vs. the urban dwellers; the nationalists vs. the integrationists/assimilationists -- and other dividing elements. We have so much in common that we should strive to avoid these distractions.
That's my view from 61 years and 10,000 feet. It is a rallying point, not a new start. There is so much progress that has already been made. We need to consolidate our gains, and develop strategies to expand them. Perhaps a quietly organized think tank should consider these points and offer a proposal to others -- seeking to form a consensus. I believe this can be done. I am working toward this objective. Others can join me at www.izania.com where I am creating a repository of solutions that work. This is only the beginning, but the potential for great outcomes is enormous. BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS