By Hakim Abdul-Ali
I want to openly thank all of you who support the nation’s Black Press, especially the loyal supporters of The Charleston Chronicle, an Afro-American weekly news organ that I’ve had the pleasure of writing for, covering many different areas over a long journalistic career. It’s been an enhancing and rewarding labor of love.
Before I breakdown my thoughts for today’s column, I feel that I must dutifully thank all of the recurrent and casual readers of my weekly columns and of my other freelance articles, which I’ve written over the past thirty plus years going forward, for keeping me on point about so many issues, happenings and topics going on in their Black respective worlds of existences. No matter whether they were deemed positive or critical, I have appreciated those past opinionated insights as they’ve helped me gauge the pulse of what some folk really felt (and feel) about their living experiences, etc. as it affected them.
With much respect, I’ll continue to value those varied sentiments going forward, and now to the topic of today’s article. Unfortunately, I sense that there’s a lack of appreciation, support and respect for some, if not all, of our nation’s Afro-American and internet African-centered news mediums among a certain reader less element of folk in the overall Black communities.
Sadly, I believe that some parts of our communities forget “their” Black Press is there to serve a vital purpose for them in keeping the inclusive Black world informed and up to date with what’s really happening in our culture and worlds of existences. We all should never forget that it was once a crime to teach an captured and enslaved soul to read and write.
Sometimes, quite frankly, it disturbs my sense of overall awareness to find so many abstract-minded folk in our national communities who totally neglect supporting the Black Press by not reading and subscribing to it. Even in today’s electronic this and that, supporting and reading good old fashion, down-to-earth news sources like the Black Press could and would be beneficial to “our-storical” outspoken informational cries of unity and uplift.
By saying that, I’m not only referring to the dissemination of current information to us, but also I’m referring to the absorption of past “our-storical” events that have led to us being where we are in the here and now. The Black Press, and The Chronicle, in particular, among so many other storied Afro-centered news mediums, lead the way in making Black History relevant by constantly printing and reminding us of what our past heroes and sheroes did for so many of us to be where we are today.
You probably can sense that I’m predisposed in what I’m writing about appreciating the noble Black Press of today for continuing the legacies of what this grand informational network was established to do in the first place. It obviously was meant to keep the global Afrikan and national Afro-American communities intellectually connected about the enlightened things that were happening inside and outside of their illuminated arenas of existences.
The credo of the Black Press of America states that “it believes that our nation can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonisms when it accords every person, regardless of race, color or creed, full human and legal rights.” That’s something every consciously sane, sensible person of color, and others, should fully understand before our nation crumbles from within.
The Black Press of America’s credo also poignantly declares in its manifesto that “it strives to help ‘every person’ in the firm belief that all are hurt as long as anyone is held back.” This credo espouses this poignant moral stance by hating no one.
“The Importance of Today’s Black Press” cannot be overemphasized enough in my view as you see what’s happening to many of the local, national and global Black nations and communities everywhere. We, as a concerned ethnic body of souls, need to be made aware of the constructive things that are helping us attain so-called collective successes and individual advancements just as we need to know about the ruinous things that divide us.
The cataclysmic things that are keeping us divided, e.g., escalating Black on Black crimes, babies having babies, rising high incarceration rates among youth, illegal drug usage, devastating broken homes, continued high unemployment, among other sorted disastrous social and personal dilemmas affecting our worlds of existences are destroying us from within. I know that a select few in our collective ethnic labeling may have escaped these catastrophic epidemics but, generally speaking, there’s a forgotten, deprived and underprivileged segment, who are Black and of color, and who haven’t and are, seemingly, doomed to a permanent second class state of existence, if you know what I’m alluding to.
By supporting and reading our press, wherever and however they are published, we make a concerted effort in staying connected with what’s really happening in our inner and outer realms of connectivities. The Black Press aids in that process by keeping us all abreast of things on a continued basis by the writings of our own outstanding cadre of qualified publishers, dedicated editors, skilled writers, reporters, columnists, academicians and authors and office personnel.
In many ways, we are fortunate to have the current Black Press in our midst at this present time, especially when so much illegitimate info, half truths and pseudo-political narratives about us is often portrayed as enticingly relevant, only to found out that it is, or was, actually fake news or racially biased. That’s why the Black Press is and has been so vital to our survival.
The governing arm of the nation’s Black Press, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), is a trade association of more than 200 African- American-owned community newspapers from around the USA. For more than seventy-five years, this entity has been the clarion voice of America’s Black communities.
In this day and age we need to continue and support the NNPA and all of the committed, striving and struggling Afro-American newspapers, both in our specific locales and nationwide, because they’re all we have. We need to understand this before it’s too late.
Understanding “The Importance of Today’s Black Press” is to fathom the relevant comprehension that this press is “for us” because it is “by us.” Again, please don’t take that statement for granted as some of us do with certain things before they’re either gone out of business or have disappeared from view.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” That’s an affirmative and resounding missive to vibe on if you’re thinking about doing anything real in life.
Our struggles are real against covert bigotry and masked racism, so we must be galvanized in our concerted efforts in fighting shrouded injustices galore by exhibiting concerned and coordinated support of each other in all affairs, including supporting our Black businesses. The reassuring relevance of recognizing how much “The Importance of Today’s Black Press” really, really is in our communities is before us all.
It’s a crucial realty and I trust you recognize same. If you truly comprehend that, then the nurturing concepts of local, national and global Black unity and “each one, teach one” becoming realities among all Black folk and other souls of color everywhere isn’t a wishful dream deferred. For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”