Supporting The BlackElectorate.com "Business and Building" Community Development Initiative: Toward Holistic and Sustainable Communities.
Over the last month I have engaged in an intense, private, and wide-ranging dialogue with Spiritual leaders, Ex gang-members, Hip-Hop artists, Political leaders, Professors and Community Development professionals over the currently undecided BlackElectorate.com "Business and Building" Community Development Initiative. More publicly, through my talk show, "The Cedric Muhammad And Black Coffee Program,' I have communicated with Entrepreneurs, Government Employees, Corporate Professionals, Teachers, Parents and Everyday Black Folk over the same subject.
It is clear to me, from this Dialogue alone, that should the BlackElectorate.com Business and Building Community decide upon and select an initiative for this vitally important area, it will have to revolve around a holistic and sustainable vision for Black communities. The problems that plague our communities: broken families, violence, crime, poor education, poor health, poverty and unemployment, pollution, and hopelessness, require that simultaneously broad and specialized approach.
This does not mean that we have to solve every problem at once, but rather, it means, our Initiative must understand how one factor affects the other, and have a grasp of the time, trends, and external and internal factors that are shaping the Black community - for better or for worse. This would involve understanding the nexus point of culture, politics, and economics - something this website has specialized in for over 7 years.
We also must be aware of how to properly relate and unite with those individuals, institutions, and organizations who are already concerned with and working on this very problem.
*The great (and perhaps relatively unique) opportunity that BlackElectorate.com has to be a tangible factor of power on this issue revolves around our diverse, broad, and informed viewership which represents every school of thought, profession, geographical area, ideology, and skill set, that would be necessary to effectively engage and solve the problem.
Simply put, we have it all.
Sometimes I feel like a Member of a potential All-Star team - loaded with talent at every position, capable of beating a world of problems.
However, I am not quite sure of how much my potential All-Star team actually wants to play together (smile).
As so many of you do, I realize the difficulty of motivating, mobilizing, and organizing a potential community of individuals who have grown more accustomed to intellectual discussion of our problems, heated ideological debate (even supposedly entertaining 'talking head-talking point' arguments), and working in organizations outside of the Black community, than responding to a call to action primarily (but not totally exclusively) with similarly concerned individuals, within Black America, Africa, and the Diaspora.
Getting talented, spirited, informed, and skilled Black people to see a need to work together, while in dialogue and debate, valuing the Community, as a whole, more than ideology, religious dogma (not theology or belief system), and institutional affiliation is extremely difficult. One of the things that immediately comes to mind are the instructions that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to 'think for the whole, Brother' How many of us actually do that where our people are concerned - think for the whole?
With each passing year, I have noticed how hopelessness, petty disputes, superficial disagreement, insecurities, and the lack of belief in ourselves all conspire (notice I did not overtly mention COINTELPRO, smile) to keep us more disunited than ever. Although there is almost unanimous agreement on what is wrong on the ground in the Black community (probably 90% to 95% consensus), the level of enthusiasm, love, tolerance, humility, endurance, and patience necessary to take the risk, inconvenience, and irritation to step out of our comfort zone and meet, dialogue, and work with those similarly concerned (but perhaps approaching the problem from a different perspective) is not where it needs to be.
I am further reminded of the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad who said that we would have to have as much or more enthusiasm in getting out of our condition as the slavemaster had when he put us into it. Think over our individual and collective level of enthusiasm in this area and regard. In your spare time look at the word, 'enthusiasm,' and how it connects with words like 'passion,' 'zeal,' and 'ardor.'
There is something very beautiful about the spectrum, diversity, and differences within the Black community that we do not appreciate as we should. Our different ideologies, skill sets, professions, geographical origin, experiences, and talents are not the basis of disagreement as much as they are actually the basis for agreement, in united action and love. That is why I have placed continual emphasis on what the Bible teaches about the Body Of Christ. Related to that is the fact that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that his multi-year study of anatomy and physiology and his knowledge of those subjects is one of the factors that made him such an effective spiritual teacher.
Free of religious dogma and superficial ideological knee-jerk reaction, think that over, carefully.
What is a body? And how do incredibly different and diverse structures, functions, and systems, somehow result in a united whole.
The Holy Qur'an says that the human being is created in the best of makes, or the best of molds. As I have suggested by this year's theme, 'Many Parts, One Body,' there is something critically important to learn in this area.
Tomorrow, on "The Cedric Muhammad And Black Coffee Program," I plan to unveil, the humongous, introductory book I have been studying on the human body. I hope you all enjoy my presentation and find it humorous. I hope you Doctors and Nurses will be there to aid me.
If it were up to me, I would move out on an Initiative for Community Development that revolves around taking members of Street Organizations, Ex-Felons, the Homeless, and Unemployed Black Youth and giving them the life skills, job training and entrepreneurial development necessary for them to overcome their current circumstances, rejoin their families, and become contributing Members of society, at levels they cannot currently imagine.
We all could use such information, education, and training.
At BlackElectorate.com, we have the critical mass of qualified individuals who can - through the 'Business and Building' format- conduct the necessary dialogue, debate, planning and organizing and action steps to make this idea, or any other worthy one that is proposed and selected, a shining success.
You may be surprised at those ready to back and support whatever we may decide upon. But we have to take the first step, and do the heavy-lifting from the bottom-up. I said we because I cannot do this by myself, nor will I try. Those of you incredibly talented, Believing, and professional individuals out there who have been harping on the Black community's need for organization and a cross-section of people working together, rather than a charismatic leader carrying the load, have too often placed me in an uncomfortable position.
Again, I will not take the bait (smile), and attempt to do this 'myself.'
If a critical mass does not join me this year, I will dedicate myself to our launched Business and Investment and International Affairs Initiatives, move on to other important work. This forum and website will take on a change, moving away from those aspects that appear to enable excessive intellectualism and superficial debate not tied to action, on the ground and in the air.
So, please, if you have in any way benefited from this website, find it in your heart to step out of your comfort zone, move past improperly motivated intellectual and ideological debate, and support, encourage, challenge but most importantly join this particular effort dedicated to united action to develop our communities, across those things that currently divide us.
We are informed enough and qualified enough - when properly motivated - to tackle the plethora of problems plaguing our community, chronicled (along with intriguing, provocative and working solutions) each day at this website.
Many of you, for years, have honored me, complimented me, and flattered me for whatever insight I have been bless to share and whatever service we have provided through this website, overwhelmingly free-of-charge.
While I am so grateful and honored by your words of support, I am not motivated by that which seems to satisfy too many artists, entertainers, and intellectuals.
The beauty of your words of praise, pales in comparison to the honor I would like to have of serving you, in operational unity, as part of an urgent effort now to reform, rebuild, and even save our communities.
Let's not just talk together, let's work together.
This may be no more important than in the area of Community Development.
Read today's news stories, and see what we need to get busy doing.
If you want to discuss taking our struggle to a higher and more effective level, and take action steps toward it, please join us October 26th to the 28th for "Business and Building" II in Washington D.C.:
Tuesday, October 2, 2007