Thursday, December 14, 2006

Black Is Back

Black Is Back

Several weeks ago an Akoben, (the Akan word for a call to action), was sounded on the Internet. It was called An Open Letter to Black America Its Time To Bring Back Black. In it three African centered activists called for the emergence of a new level and type of leadership in the African-American community. Bob Law a long time talk radio host and radio executive, Jim Clingman an entrepreneur, nationally syndicated columnist and community activist and Amefika Geuka a West Palm Beach Florida educator and the founder of the Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba Charter School sent out the letter which generated considerable buzz on the Internet. In the letter they chastised black America for acquiescing and accepting a feeble caricature of leadership under the auspices of folks Law, Clingman and Geuka considered wrong headed, ineffective and self sabotaging. “These nationally prominent Black leaders and organizations have actually abandoned the specific needs of Black people, Case in point: Black Americans have never received proportional benefits for the time, energy, and resources that they have devoted to voting. No major party or candidate has delivered benefits to Black people in return for their votes. Still these nationally prominent Black leaders tell Blacks simply to vote, while politicians hide behind mythical concepts and broad groupings, like people of color, minorities, poor people, multi-culture, and diversity in order to justify doing nothing specifically for Blacks in return for their votes. Unless the politician or political party is committed to repairing the damage done to Blacks by centuries of historical inequities, telling Blacks to just vote is to engage Blacks in nothing more than a keep busy activity. Too often these nationally prominent leaders have engaged in a flawed analysis of the problems confronting Blacks, and as a result have offered inadequate solutions.” An Open Letter To Black America, It’s Time To Bring Back Black.
Clingman and his friends challenged black people who thought dynamic ethnocentric race first leadership was lacking, to come together and plot a new vision and agenda for our people. Clingman set up a meeting for Saturday December 9, 2006 in Cincinnati to begin the arduous task and process of what they called Bringing Black Back. The letter got the ball rolling. Subsequently Bob Law had Jim Clingman on his Philadelphia radio program on WURD 900 AM to promote the meeting. The co-conveners started popping up on Afrocentric Internet radio stations talking about the Bring Black Back campaign, informing and exhorting the listeners to be catalysts for the resurrection and manifestation of the Black Power, Black Is Beautiful, Up You Mighty Race sentiments many feel are latently percolating in the psyches of Africans in America. When he first put the call out to selected individuals, Clingman figured he would have about thirty people show up because the participants would have to come on their own, make their own travel and lodging arrangements and pay their own way. As the date of the meeting approached, even those who sent their regrets stated they were interested and asked Clingman to count them in on future meetings/sessions.
As more people responded, Clingman had to change the venue of the meeting from the University of Cincinnati to Cincinnati State facilities to accommodate the growing interest. Folks began arriving Friday night, getting acquainted, interacting infused with the energy and passion of their purpose. On Saturday about a hundred folks showed up ready to Bring Back Black. In addition to Clingman, Geuka and Law, nationally known entrepreneurs, African centered media owners, academicians, educators, mentors; IT professionals, students and activists like Dr. Claude Anderson, Haki Madhubuti, Chike Akua, DeLacy Davis, Ali Sulahuddin, Keidi Obi Awadu and Dalani Aamon were in attendance to lend credence and credibility to the bourgeoning movement. The attendees were intergenerational with several teenagers in attendance. Folks came from California, Louisiana, Florida, Chicago, Indiana, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and places in between.
The idea and purpose of the meeting was for grass roots folks to fashion ways to assert African empowerment in a positive way, to begin a dialog and lay the foundation for an unabashedly Afrocentric empowerment agenda. While there were informal discussions and exchanges, the goal was to reach a consensus and commitment to begin the process of building institutions integrating education, economic empowerment, political development, community service, communications, technology and spiritual development to raise consciousness and improve the conditions of Africans in America and ultimately throughout the diaspora. For many the meeting was a reunion. Anthony Philips of Camden New Jersey said it was like a MATAH reunion because so many MATAH folks were in attendance.
Following the general sessions, breakout groups met to create a foundation for specific programs and reported back to the attendees. A follow up meeting is being planned and a continuing process is being formulated. The position papers, video and audio of the meeting will be posted on Websites and plans for the next step will be disseminated via the Internet and other media. Overall the conveners were satisfied with the first meeting and they plan to continue working to get the movement up and running. “This has been a rewarding experience; it has been a humbling experience. The attendance for this gathering exceeded our expectations; I’ll round it off to about a hundred because some people were here and had to leave and others are still coming in. I just appreciate everyone for coming. We have people here from coast to coast; Miami Florida, LA, New York and points in between and we’re just proud to be part of this and work with this group of people to accomplish our mission which is to bring back black.” Clingman stated.
Amefika Geuka was equally pleased. “We’ve had such and excellent turnout under the circumstances. What I mean by that is all of these folks knew they would have to get here on their own, at their own expense, take their own time to come and that we only wanted folks who were serious and seriously in love with black folk and committed to doing something about those things that we always talk about. So the very fact that so many folks actually came knowing those were the ground rules and parameters speaks well for where we go. This is the first event of this type, so we’re going to have some ups and downs and ins and outs trying to please too many people. And some folks not quite getting what we are trying to do in terms of self-discipline and some things got away from where we wanted them to go but aside from that this is a tremendous success because we have all these people here who are the type of people they are we’re going to get to where we want to go. The plan is that we will establish the task forces for each of the eight divisions that would comprise the organization and those task forces will be charged with the responsibility of hammering out the meat and potatoes of the structure, determining what direction we’re going in, how we’re going to go about it and how things that are being done fit into that. Those groups will have to meet several times before the next gathering in ninety to one hundred days to give a report on their progress of what each group is doing that fit in with that and what things need to be expanded. That means those groups will have to meet once or more before the next larger gathering; and hopefully we will have major national convention, convocation, conference whatever name you want to call it sometime next year to celebrate the launching of the organization.” Geuka explained.
To join, become involved or for more information on the Bring Back Black movement go to www.Blackonomics.com or call (513) 489-4132.

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