Guest Editorial: Next steps for the Black community

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have emerged victorious from the November 3rd elections, but the smoke has not yet cleared. The elections had record-breaking turnouts, and a lot of people were caught off guard by the squeaker that resulted. Many folks expected a landslide victory for Biden against Donald Trump, although it was also anticipated that Trump would not go quietly into the sunset. At press time, there were at least seven (7) lawsuits filed by the Trump administration challenging the election results.

One of the things that emerged from the greater participation by members of the Black community in the voting process is the gripe that Black people keep giving the Democratic Party support and get nothing in return. Though the timing was dangerous, a lot of folks threatened to withhold their votes from the Biden/Harris team because of this state of affairs. It’s interesting that there was no talk about what the Republicans had offered Blacks, even though the threat of voting “down ballot” could have resulted in a benefit for that party.

Here we are in the present, faced with a whole new situation. With record numbers of new voters, we have the chance to develop a real agenda and take that to the new administration for buy–in. The key is that we need to know what to request! It is time to develop a real agenda and coalesce around it. In the past, it was apparent that we did not hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire. We constantly complain about what we don’t get from them, but we relax once they get into office, and they forget, and we forget about ensuring that there is follow-through.

The truth is that we have not fully participated in the political process. This is because people always said that the party didn’t do anything for Black people. Now we have the opportunity to make sure that this scenario changes; we can envision what we want, organize around it and put it into a cogent format, present it and remain involved by monitoring the process.

With this said, what are some of the things that the Black community should include in an agenda? Rudimentary plans already exist. This might be a time for reaching out to Ice Cube for the possibility of including elements of his “Platinum Plan.” In addition, there are others who have crafted plans that offer viable options for inclusion in a “Black Agenda.” The issue is not a shortage of agenda items, actually, but it is the reluctance of Black people to work together that is the real problem.

The following are initial suggestions. Convene a National Black Confab; invite representatives from across America, and proceed as though it is a Black National Congress. Let representatives caucus and develop items that will be submitted for a vote. The items that garner the most votes should be ratified, and the finished product should be presented to the Biden administration for implementation. We must do this with an understanding that the Black community has LEVERAGE; it is seriously doubted that the Democrats would have won the election if it had not been for the Black vote.

With that said, the following are some of the items that should be included in a National Black Agenda. Reparations, with the format having been crafted during the Confab; criminal justice reform, with a consideration of elevating the role of rehabilitation and perhaps involving the business community to provide opportunities for ex-felons; and true education reform that offers new funding formulas that are not tied to property taxes in an attempt to begin leveling the education playing field. A state resourced funding model might be considered.

Reduced or waived college tuition should be included, as should a universal health care model; a realistic jobs program should be created, as well as any other items envisioned by the Confab. Essentially, the Confab should present items with a consensus developed around them. Admittedly, this is easier said than done, especially since there are competing priorities in the Black community. ADOS, for example, might be on a different page. The bottom line, though, is that if we don’t unify around an agenda, we won’t get one implemented. A Luta Continua.



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