by Calvin O. L. Henry 28 December 1995
The Black Community is Black America. Members of Black America are citizens of the United States of America. Also they are citizens of the states, counties, cities, and municipalities in which they reside. The Black Community is a concept that goes far beyond the color of one’s skin. It is the experience of being Black in the United States. The Black Community is a society whose culture is waiting to be re-defined. This definition or concept is not designed to ignore other Black people in the Americas, but to evolve the strength and power of Black people as citizens of the United States of America. Too often Black people in the United States function as if they are not citizens.
It is not easy for the Black America to empower itself when all the odds appear to be against the community. Many members of Black America find themselves being afraid to participate openly in the political and economic processes that might empower the Black Community. This fear has led many in Black America to believe that they must exhibit a racelessness persona in order to achieve vertical mobility in America. The Black Community must understand “Black America Political Action” and leadership if it is to be successful in meeting its needs for the future.
“Black America Political Action” is defining the needs, goals, and aspirations of the Black Community, and communicating the same to individuals who can make the differences. Black America Political Action is discussing issues and conditions, and establishing, through resolutions, the positions of the Black Community, collectively, on these issues and conditions affecting it. It is being a risk taker and an agent for positive change in and for the Black Community.
Black America Political Action is running for public office at the federal, state and local levels. It is supporting and working for the election of candidates who are sensitive and responsive to conditions and issues affecting the Black Community. Black America Political Action is recognizing that all elected officials represent the interests of the Black Community. It is communicating the quality of that representation to these elected officials. It is demanding that all public officials (elected or appointed) represent the interests of the Black Community. Also it is holding all public officials accountable and responsive for productivity within the Black Community. Black America Political Action is holding Black leaders and Black public officials accountable for providing the leadership to enhance productivity within and for the Black Community. It is providing leadership for all Americans.
Being agents for change in Black America is not easy. It requires discipline and integrity. Black America Political Action cannot be achieved without commitment. “Black America Political Action” recognizes that the Black America must take action now in order to chart a better course for the future. Working together, Black Americans can make a difference in impacting the political process.
Education is a tool that Black America must use for social change, to educate its youth, and to correct the miseducation of and about the Black Community.
Indigenous Black leadership that is accountable, responsive and productive to the Black Community is essential to the development and enhancement of the Black America. The Black Community must be committed to the development and recognition of this type of leadership throughout Black America. This indigenous Black leadership must be willing to communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with others in defining and presenting the needs and aspirations of the Black America.
- All Black Americans must recognize that they are citizens of the United States of America and they must define this citizenship to empower Black America to meet its needs. Also this citizenship must be used to hold those persons impacting African American lives accountable and responsive.
- All Black Americans must seek leadership positions in all aspects of employment, vocations, education, politics, business and industry. Black Americans must emphasize service to the Black Community in his or her position of leadership.
- Black educators and writers must commit themselves to helping Black America define itself. The capacity to untangle the complex racial, social and cultural human experiences in the United States of America, that helped to define Black Americans, seems to elude the Black Community. Educators are needed to help untangle the meaning of racial stratification and its impact on the Black identity (politically, socially, culturally, and economically). Thus the identity of the Black Community suffers.
- Each Black leader must cooperate with other Black leaders to enhance the status of the Black Community. Today, the problems in Black America are bigger than any one individual. Black Americans must work with each other in spite of themselves or in spite of others.
- Black institutions and organizations, especially the Black Church, must provide and be the foundation for Black America.
- Each Black American should be an agent for change in the Black Community. Being agents for change in Black America is not easy. It requires discipline and integrity. This is especially true when it is known that some Black institutions and individuals are used to divide the Black Community.
- Black Americans must hold all public officials accountable and responsive for productivity within the Black Community.
- Black Americans should take Black America Political Action by holding Black leaders and Black public officials accountable for providing the leadership to enhance productivity within and for the Black Community. Black Americans must hold each other (Black Americans) accountable in public and on the records. It is not enough to say that Black Americans should not wash their dirty linen in public when the public already knows about this dirty linen.
- Black elected and appointed officials must work for political, educational, and economic parity for Black Americans.
- Black Americans must recognize that advancement of the Black American can be hampered by Black and non-Black “gatekeepers.” Black Americans must oppose such “gatekeepers,” regardless of color or position, who inhibit the growth, development and enhancement of the Black Community.
- Black Americans must hold all leaders accountable for how they define and present the needs and aspirations of the Black America.