The Black Agenda Conversation

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Tavis Smiley held a town hall style meeting at Chicago State University on America's Black Agenda

Does Black America need a Black Agenda?  This was the conversation on Saturday, March 20 at Chicago State University. Tavis Smiley convened scholars, activists, authors, and civil rights activists to engage the discussion. About 5,000 people showed up to hear the roundtable dialogue.    The voices were intelligent, wise,  experienced and worth listening to. This was not the belly ache crowd.  This was Black America's intelligence  in a valid discussion, to include:  Professors Cornell West, Michael Dyson, Michael Fauntroy and Ronald Walters.  The clergy was represented with Rev. Jesse Jackson and MInister Louis Farrakhan.  Dr. Julianne Maleveaux, Dorothy Tillman, Angela Glover Blackwell, Tom Burrell and student Raven Curling. 

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Just blocks away from the community Barack Obama organized, educators, politicians, ministers, community activists, social workers, students, business people  and media were apart of the listening audience.  These are the same people who were there day one to push Barack's political envelope to the top.  The group feels disappointed and let down from the home town President. 

The discussion stated Black people had been ignored to forgotten by the Obama administration.  His generic response has been, "rising tides lift all boats."  Not good enough.   Boats range from the Titanic to a canoe.  No one is asking for "special treatment" but the President has the power to bring about change hoped and voted for.  Blacks experience  higher foreclosures, the minority business community only receive three percent of the stimulus recovery money, unemployment rate is in double digits.  

There were negative laws especially for Blacks, like Jim Crow and the Black Code.  If negative laws can be enforced, so can positive ones.  Presidents before Obama have enacted  laws from Lincoln's Freeman's Bureau to Johnson's Civil Rights Bill.  Women have had to fight for Equal Rights Bill and Gays have had to fight for Don't Ask, Don't Tell.   The fight is uncomfortable with the same race president.    However the facts speak for themselves.  

The issues of Black America are urgent and presidential address is necessary and to ignore a group that voted 97% for Obama is not acceptable.  The conversation that has been voiced in the beauty shop, the barber shop, the church tea and the backrooms has now gone public.  Whereas, it is with an enormous amount of tearful pride that Obama serves in the White House, we would now like to see Black America fully included.  The student from Chicago State University said it best  "We might  have been better off marching on Washington than  seated  in the White House." 

Do you think we need a Black agenda?  You can see this full discussion Sunday at 7:00 pm. on Channel 20 or on March 29 on C Span.


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  • Great job, Ms. Hartman.

    I was there yesterday and I noticed you from a distance. ;)

    But it wasn't about meeting up to see "who" was there. Instead, it was an issue of "what" was going to happen.

    I am not a fan of some of the panelists, including Bro. Dyson- but he surprised me yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed him until he compared Obama to "Pharaoh". But don't get me wrong, I know what Dyson meant but we live in a world of soundbites, so he should have chosen his soundbite carefully.

    Overall, I feel like DOING something now because it's not about passing the responsibility off on the President or the "black leaders". It's about US, and the power we have been given by God.

  • In reply to MrIsaacs:

    Thanks for writing. The content was good and well received. It is always up to us. As Burrell pointed out we have a trillion dollar consumer power and 41 million strong. What can't we do? Glad you were there and I too saw you from afar.

  • In reply to MrIsaacs:

    Thanks for writing. It was a conversation worth having and quite needed. Glad I went. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the panelists. They were all quite good and spoke on the subject with substance. Saw you too. As Burrell pointed out with a trillion dollar consumer and 4l million what can't we do? Keep the faith.

  • In reply to MrIsaacs:

    I thought it was a useful discussion, though it was a panel of the usual suspects. Barack didn't run as 'the black president' so I don't think he owes any more of a debt to black America than Clinton did. I think healthcare and jobs are part of the black agenda and he is working on those. I am a marketing professional myself, but I think our continued focus on black 'buying power' is doing our community a grave disservice. My thoughts on that are here:

  • In reply to rquashie:

    thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was a useful discussion. Barrack didn't run as "Black President" and he does not owe us a debt but he does owe fairness of opportunity. I am so glad that the health care bill got passed. It will be a hallmark of his administration. Bravo. Your blog on marketing is food for thought. Tom Burrell's books shakes the black media world form advertising to placement.

  • In reply to MrIsaacs:

    It was very sad to see a group of elite Blacks sitting around a table discussing US POOR BLACKS, and we were clearly absent from the conversation as usual. All American Blacks who are descendants of slaves MUST learn that we are in THE LAND OF OUR CAPTIVITY AND under the authority of the great grandchildren of our CAPTORS. We do not have the authority to FREE ourselves from this DIVINE punishment that was earned by our GREAT ANCESTORS misbehaving in our home THE LAND OF ISRAEL. We will serve our PUNISHMENT JUST LIKE OUR FOREFATHERS DID in Babylon, in Egypt and now in North America and other parts of the world. We were scattered to the four corners of the Earth and our PUNISHMENT/Captivity has not BEEN COMPLETED. When our Captivity/Punishment is COMPLETED, YHWH(The Father) AND HIS SON, WILL RELEASE us from this HORRIBLE 400 year trial. Remember slavery DID NOT BEGIN in North America until the first ship landed here in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia. So our 400 year enslavement/captivity will not be DUE UNTIL THE YEAR 2019.

    WE WILL never be FREE until we accept who we are: Asiatic Black People a.k.a. The Children OF Israel. This is our TRUE identity. As long as we INSIST on being hard-headed, stiff-necked, and rebellious and continue to call ourselves afro-american, african-americans, niggers, and negroes...The Father (YHWH) will keep us right here in this HORRIBLE CONDITION. Most of our clergy, educators, and elected officials from our COMMUNITIES continue to CARRY out this AGENDA of deceit, lies and misrepresenting their people. NO MY FRIENDS, we still have time left to serve before OUR GOD (YHWH) will FREE US.

    Barack Hussein Obama, is not a friend to the Asiatic Black/Israel Community. He never was a support of "Our Agenda." He never made any promises to the Black Community, never. Our people have got it all wrong. We are going to suffer, because we have turned our backs on THE TRUE LIVING GOD, the only ONE who can help us.

  • In reply to alo116:

    Sorry your perceived it as sad. I obviously disagree. I do agree that God is the most important. Thanks for writing.

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