Barney Blakeney made a statement with his subject and article two weeks ago about the College of Charleston – Avery Research Center’s Disparities report about various inequities and/or injustices between the quality of life for individuals within the African American community and various other ethnic groups with special emphasis on the white community. He wrote, “I Hope Avery’s Race Study Triggers Some Change”. Years ago, President Obama was quoted as saying; Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Being a native of the Accabee Section of North Charleston and moving up to Romney Street Projects in 1967 prior to me joining the Air Force and retiring 23 years ago, I’ve had the delight of being back home for the past 20 years and working with various non-profits and University level individuals to enhance the quality of life for many within our community and society.
Nobel Laureate Leonard Pitts said something in an Editorial he did back in 2004 titled, ‘Three ways to make the Black Community whole’. 1 – Stop waiting on the next Martin Luther King, he is not coming again, 2 – Re-engage whites (and or any other ethnic group) that are willing to work with us and or partner within our community. 3 – Handle our business.
We within the African American community stand at pivotal point for the next generation coming behind us and or our children and grand children for us to make things better to pass the baton to them by tilling the ground now. As in the poem, ‘Mother to Son’; “life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”. We can start some processes to make it a little easier for the next generation, verses them starting from scratch again as we had to.
We can utilize the frame work from the National Urban league that has the State of Black America report Main Street Marshall Plan – from Poverty to Prosperity and break our community up into 6 different components as it is outlined in the report and start rebuilding our community. (1) Jobs and the Economy (2) Small Business and Entrepreneur (3) Education and Children (4) Affordable Housing, Home Ownership and Asset Building (5) Health (6) Justice, Voting and Civic Engagement.
This framework would give each church and/or places of worship a framework to work with and have those of the divine nine (fraternities and sororities) lead in many of the areas necessary and then we start building from this model. Each church would have their own framework and we would all come together on a quarterly basis as they do presently with the Charleston Area Justice Ministry.
Every individual within our community would decide what type of work do you do at your regular job as one of the above and bring your asset to the group to prevent a learning curve within certain professions. If an individual does not attend a church or a place of worship and or does not work, they can participate how they see fit within the community them live. This is an “all hands on deck” movement to make our lives better for our society. From the report: In 2016, in recognition of the 40 th anniversary of the State of Black America, the National Urban League reiterated the need for a bold and comprehensive plan to lift urban communities out of poverty and stimulate their economic growth, and embark on the development of the Main Street Marshall Plan.
As I prepare to write my book on how to solve the school to prison pipeline, I see how some have accepted the learned helplessness theory in so many aspects of our families, community and society as a whole.
Earlier when this report was done, the CEO of the Urban League did an article here within the Chronicle also; me along with many other individuals, organizations and or agencies are excited to potentially work with him (and/or his board and staff) in 2018 to address the disparities brought up in the Avery report along with building the community up with the Marshall Plan.
As Japan has built their country up after the devastation they saw many years ago; I know we within the African American community can do the same thing within the United States of America with all the good will that we have within each of our families, community and society.
With the report that Avery has done and the leadership of the local Urban league, I know this model could be replicated in many other communities throughout the nation. Lastly, as I read ‘The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein, I realize that a lot of us are stronger than those that try to hold us back. Politicians must start addressing bad policies as time move forward.
Peace and Blessings…