Veteran Black Activist and National Black Wall Street Leader Responds to CBC Chicago Summit

Several people called me from the kick-off of the Congressional Black Caucus Summit Against Gun, Urban, Urban Gun Violence yesterday at Chicago State hosted by Black Congressional leaders and I was not there because I was not invited although I have known and worked with my Illinois Black Congressional leaders for over 20 years and those like Rush and Davis helped train me as a youth activist, leader and  throughout my public life.   I never saw any kind of advance agenda, and the agenda that I have read in the media today does not address the urgent economic agenda I think should be at the root of summits like these; but its good to have these type events attract some new faces that make a commitment to WORK after the cameras are gone. I have had my share of "symbolic" meetings and will be here ready to work if the ultimate agenda will be a plan of action to deal with the ECONOMIC VIOLENCE that breeds the ongoing gun/urban violence.  I say that it would be an injustice to give the impression that you can resolve gun violence UNTIL you address eliminating the economic conditions that still has far too many of our people battling over the gang, drug, and other illegal economies.
The urgent National Black Wall Street Chicago message to Congresspeople Bobby Rush, Robin Kelly and Danny Davis and other national Black Congressional leaders on their summit on urban violence is that -- The State Of Black Chicago and State of Black America is STILL in a BAD state as long as far too many of our people keep relying on faith without committing to the WORKS required.  Our Black congressional and other Black leaders need to start spreading the Black constituent message  Its time for our Black Congressional leaders and other Black leadership to start immediately engaging their majority Black constituencies God has given the Black community a trillion dollar consumer power and that is more than enough to redirect to get our youth and others away from the gang, drug, and other illegal street economies, through creating, sustaining and increasing our OWN businesses, jobs, and institutions. Far too many of our people are STUCK in an ongoing "paralysis of analysis" versus just DOING the organizing and direct actions necessary. We must fight the ECONOMIC VIOLENCE at the root or what causes so much of the physical violence. If you are not a part of the solving the ECONOMIC VIOLENCE you a part of the physical violence problem.
The overwhelming majority of our Black youth and others in the criminal justice system are there because they got caught doing something illegal trying to address their ECONOMIC problem.  And no matter how many new gun laws you put on the books, the reality is that we are NOT going to stop the demand for illegal guns. And gun violence will not stop on the street as long as we continue to allow far too many of our young people and others to STILL rely on the gang, drug and other illegal street economies for resolving their economic problems and not enough legal job and economic opportunities. So it is hard for me to understand why we are having so many of these "State of Black this" and "State of Black that," that do not focus more on solving the economic violence in our urban communities.
Without a real economic agenda this summit will conclude with our urban cities still facing the exact same desperate economic conditions that they faced before the summit. When this summit concludes in Chicago in particular, it will end with no real concrete plan where we could specifically measure how we will put thousands of our city Black youth and adults into real legitimate work and economic opportunities and away from the gang, drug and other illegal economies. And that means more urban violence. We will return to a City like Chicago with Blacks being over 30% of the population and no concrete agenda to measure for significantly increasing Black community contracts in accordance with the Black population. We will return to a City like Chicago where even in majority Black Wards with major economic development projects that do not have majority Black contractors and workers working. We return to a Chicago and other urban city neighborhoods where there are still major corporations that exist that do not have adequate financial benefits agreements with local businesses and service providers.

As we approach the 50th Year anniversary of The historic March On Washington, it is my hope that our Black Congressional leaders and other national Black leadership will consider announcing a 21st Century revival of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's POOR PEOPLES CAMPAIGN which if followed could immediately begin to address the economic violence and turn around the desperate unemployment in the Black and Poor communities like Chicago
and other urban cities like Chicago.  Dr. King's last project on earth was this Poor People's Campaign where in addition to public policy initiatives he was beginning to direct Black and poor constituencies on how to use their own consumer education and consumer action power to better business and jobs in Black and poor communities.

First, Dr. King told Black and Poor constituencies to start directing more of the regular consumer dollars they spend everyday into their own community financial institutions to create, sustain and increase their own community businesses, jobs and institutions, and second, Dr. King directed Black and poor constituencies to protest and not economically support major corporations that did not have financial benefits agreements with the local businesses and community service providers. Following Dr. King's Poor People's Campaign today would turn the Black community around with its own trillion dollar consumer power, for the Black community cannot celebrate this kind of consumer power on the one hand but not using it in a way that creates more legitimate jobs and economic opportunities within the Black and Poor communities of Chicago and other urban areas.

The National Black Wall Street Chicago and National Black Wall Street USA encourages our Congressional Black Caucus leaders locally and nationally engage in a local and national campaign to teach the spirit and example of Black Wall Street in using its own consumer power to build Black business, jobs and institutions in majority Black communities. The Black community has more consumer power today that it has ever had and must be challenged to do more with its own economic resources just as Dr. King was achieveing with his Poor People's Campaign that was working before he was killed.  If Dr. King recognized 50 years ago that it was a Poor People's community economic empowerment campaign to remedy Black unemployment then our leaders today in that same spirat and example must recognize that it's the measurement of how we address economic violence as the best way to measure any real effects on urban violence.
Chairman & COO National Black Wall Street Chicago
(Rev. Willie T. Barrow Consumer Education and Consumer Action Project)
Founder/Lead Organizer, Illinois Voter Restoration Civic Education Project
Chief of Staff to National Chairman, National Black Wall Street USA
"And The Ordinary People Said" News Blog,
Chairman, Community Reinvestment Organizing Project
Listed in 2012 Edition Who' Who In Black Chicago
4655 South King Drive, Suite 203
Chicago, Illinois 60653
(Office) 773-268-6900 or direct 773-392-0165
The Rev. Al Sharpton calls Mark Allen "one of Chicago's legendary political activists and one of the best organizers of his generation"

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