Educate, Organize, Mobilize — I’m becoming more encouraged with the Black community’s response to pervasive inequality on many different fronts. After attending two different leadership conferences, watching television coverage of a Black Lives Matter conference and live coverage of the Justice or Else march, I reflected on Gil Scott-Heron’s iconic 1970 poem and song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
According to Wikipedia the song’s title was originally a popular slogan among the 1960s Black Power movements in the United States. Its lyrics either mention or allude to several television series, advertising slogans and icons of entertainment and news coverage that serve as examples of what “the revolution will not” be or do (See link No. 1 below).
On Friday past, I attended the NC NAACP annual conference in Winston Salem. Although multiple issues of social justice and equality were addressed, the greatest focus was on our fight against voter suppression and the expansion of access to the ballot box. Their Continuing Legal Education program had sessions on voting rights and other equality and social justice issues.
On Saturday, I attended a session of the North Carolina Caucus of Black School Board Members (Caucus) annual conference. Their conference theme was Stemming the Tide Toward Racial and Economic Isolation in Public Schools. Although the conference title is self explanatory, what is not so obvious is a project that they’ve undertaken to help bring economic equity to the contracting for goods and services by school systems.
At the Caucus meeting, I was able to give a very brief presentation on voting rights and the necessity of aggressive involvement of Black elected officials in voter education, organizing and mobilization to protect our interest in November 2016 and beyond. The response of Black elected official and other community leaders to the proposal of Black publishers to sponsor a series of voting rights forums is getting substantial support.
If you’re wondering what all of this has to do with Gil Scott-Heron’s poem and song let me tie it together. For years many of us that were involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960 have lamented the fact that we have yet to realize our quest for economic equity. We’ve also lamented the fact that many young people didn’t appreciate the historic fight for equality by our ancestors and therefore were not involved in our current struggle.
For an understanding of the concept of reconstruction (See link No. 2 below) Third Reconstruction: Finishing the Job.
Although the project of the school board Caucus is incomplete, their objective and mindset is “on the money”. Consider the fact that they’re coalition partners of the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Official whose combined membership is 600 or more and consider that the objective of the Caucus can be modified and replicated far and wide.
Occupy Wall Street was a protest movement that began on September 17, 2011, in New York City’s Wall Street financial district, receiving global attention and spawning the Occupy movement against social and economic inequality worldwide (See link No. 3 below). Today the social and economic inequality objectives have been largely embraced and adopted by our major political leaders and parties as well as lower income workers like those protesting low wages in the fast food industry.
Now young people have joined our quest for justice and equality in a very powerful way, Black Lives Matter represents their entry into the revolution. The Black Lives Matter movement campaigns against police brutality in the United States against African-Americans, and of course the movement is peaceful.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was unified by the historical, wide spread bigotry abuse, and racial exploitation of Jim Crow (legal segregation). However, until the last few years there was not a consensus target to direct protest movements. Fortunately, today’s television and Internet access have provided forums that allow protester to connect the dots and find commonality of interest. By and large the various protest movements are directed at the abuses and exploitations promoted by the rich and the super rich (See link No. 4 below).
Happily, Gil’s iconic poem and song of yesterday is not true today. The many challenges and protest of today’s inequities are being televised, are on the Internet and in the streets. Taken together the protest movements are a new revolution. The revolution is here, it’s multi-racial, multi-ethnic, alive and well. It is also peaceful. It’s the Third Reconstruction.
Last week I wrote about a plan taking shape by Black publishers and elected official to convene a series of voting rights forums to help address the need to protect and expand Black’s access to the ballot. The proposal is being well received, and our first forum is tentatively scheduled in Fayetteville on November 7th. The NC Caucus of Black School Board Members has agreed to be official co-sponsors of our Fayetteville forum. I’ll continue to update readers as our planning continues. We will analyze the landscape and identify areas that need attention or shoring up.
As noted last week while holding the forums, we will also engage in messaging and outreach in order to ensure that all that desire to help with the task of protecting and expanding our voting rights will know how to get involved. Because we’re planning multiple forums leading up to November 2016, our leaders and communities will be able to engage in ongoing dialogues to plan and evaluate strategies.
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• http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/11/us/politics/2016-presidential-election-super-pac-donors.html?_r=0 •