Black leaders must seize the moment

Filed under: African Americans,Economics,Featured,Racial Equity |

The National Action Network held its 12th annual convention last week in New York City. I attended the first day, but missed the black leadership forum, “Measuring the Movement.”

Broadcast live on TV One, the forum was “designed to determine and commit to significant and measurable goals that will advance the standing of African Americans over the next 12 months in the areas of political power, economic power and social/cultural influence.” Fortunately, the session was re-aired so I was able to hear firsthand what was said.  And the panelists said a lot.

I listened as leader after leader outlined their plan to address the challenges facing the African American community. Some plans were more specific and measurable than others.

Benjamin Jealous said the NAACP will increase the participation of African Americans in the census by five percent.

Marc Morial said the National Urban League will assist 10,000 people in finding employment in the next 12 months, expand job training for the formerly incarcerated, and add 10 to 15 sites for the League’s Education and Youth Empowerment Program.

The Rev. Al Sharpton outlined the National Action Network’s three-point plan:

  • Boost black voter registration and turnout by five percent in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
  • Push for federal, state and local agencies to increase deposits in black banks.
  • Close the academic achievement gap.

On his radio show, “Hour of Power,” Sharpton touted the success of the forum but noted:

The success will be when we implement what we outlined.  It’s about action … The real challenge is the work.  What are we going to do? … That is the measure of the success, or the lack of success, of the convention.

Sharpton added:

The time for talk is over.  It’s time to walk the walk. Nobody cares when you’re upset. They care when you organize.

Indeed, it’s past time to walk the walk. The window of opportunity to advance the black agenda may be closing.

Though marginalized by many as racist outliers, tea partiers are organized.  Sure, the New York Times poll shows their lack of racial diversity.  But monochromatic faces dominate the newsrooms and editorial boards of old and new media outlets that are reporting on the Tea Party’s lack of diversity.

The Times reports:

And they were almost unanimous in their dislike of President Obama. Overwhelmingly, they said he does not share the values most Americans live by and does not understand the needs and problems of people like them. They are significantly more likely than Republicans or the general public to say that too much attention has been made of the problems facing black people, and that the policies of the Obama administration favor blacks over whites and the poor over the rich or the middle class.

A new survey raises the specter that tea partiers may be the proverbial canaries in the coal mine.

Nearly 80 percent of Americans are skeptical of government.  Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, writes:

By almost every conceivable measure, Americans are less positive and more critical of their government these days. There is a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government—a dismal economy, an unhappy public, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials.

These are among the principal findings from a new series of Pew Research Center surveys. Rather than an activist government to deal with the nation’s top problems, these surveys show that the general public now wants government reformed and a growing number want its power curtailed. With the exception of greater regulation of Wall Street, there is less of an appetite for government solutions to the nation’s problems—including greater government control over the economy—than there was when Barack Obama first took office.


Nonetheless, antigovernment sentiment appears to be a more significant driver of possible turnout among Republicans and independents than among Democrats. Perhaps most troubling for Democrats, independent voters who are highly frustrated with government are also highly committed to casting a ballot this year, and they favor the Republican candidates in their districts by an overwhelming 66% to 13% margin.

If Republicans gain control of the House or Senate in November, the black agenda will, well, fade to black.


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Author: Kirwan Institute (427 Articles)

Kirwan Institute

3 Responses to Black leaders must seize the moment

  1. Pingback: Faye Anderson: It’s Time to Have a Black Tea Party | World News Mania

  2. Pingback: Faye Anderson: It’s Time to Have a Black Tea Party « In The News « Obama America

  3. Pingback: Faye Anderson: It’s Time to Have a Black Tea Party | Barack Obama and USA

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