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.
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.