Wednesday, August 19, 2015


A peculiar bird presents a unique perspective on socio-economic repair.  "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten." The Ghanaian word, Sankofa, translated to English, presents an inherited  value for historically disadvantaged heirs.  “Reach back and get it," symbolized by a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back is often associated with the Akan proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which translates (san - to return; ko - to go; fa - to look, to seek and take)

By Eric Stradford

AMWS, August 20, 2015, Atlanta -- #BlackLivesMatter.  It is among the numerous, diverse issues on the fringe of a national debate.   By evidence it is a trending hashtag in the evolution of modern day social media.  It gives voice to an historically disadvantaged minority retrospective on history where some citizens have been valued as less than equal.  Absent of intergenerational inclusion, it promotes and perpetuates a faithless introspective on the American Dream as a dream deferred.

According to one website on the Internet, #BlackLivesMatter is “an ideological and political intervention.”  It is not an organization, but “a decentralized network aiming to build the leadership and power of black people.”   Nationally respected advocate and columnist Dr. Julianne Malveaux called on historically disadvantaged friends-n-kin to embrace #BlackLivesMatter.  Her advocacy promotes the evolution of a message to a movement.   But, it also heightens demands for evidence of measurable reality.  

“I am proud of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and excited about the three young women who organized it, and the thousands who have united under their banner.  The movement prioritizes black lives in a way that they have never before been prioritized,” stated Malveaux. 

Dr. Malveaux’s assessment of #BlackLivesMatter underscores generations of social activism where #BlackLivesMatter have #AlwaysMattered.   Assuming that inclusivity reflects a measurable if not common goal for forward movement, young advocates can expect the greatest challenges from folk who look like they do and share their perceived right to demand equality. 

For example, the statement, “Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us,” might be perceived as a #BlackLivesMatter position seeking to include others in their movement.  But the economic impact of such inclusion possibly suggests a need for intentional generation skipping as it pertains to full economic inclusion.

One reality should be crystal clear to African Americans today.  Not everybody in a movement qualifies for the inheritance.  At an earlier phase in “the movement,” A Philip Randolph articulated, “At the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. If you can't take anything, you won't get anything, and if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything.  And you can't take anything without organization.”

History shows us that people perish for a lack of vision.   Some modern-day elders in “the movement” describe themselves as the African American Economic Community (A.A.E.C.). They  see organization as a necessary step toward economic inclusion.  That means qualifying organizational leadership based on core values and capabilities to serve a greater good.  One must ask, “Can a vision for national security abroad be achieved without economic security for all?”

If the vision for #BlackLivesMatter was to “form a more perfect union,” sustainable activism might be prefaced by a common vision statement such as, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

From one informed perspective, no meaningful conversation can take place without language.  Shall we spell defense with a c or an s?   Shall we listen as well as talk? Shall we insure or ensure domestic Tranquility? And why capitalize Posterity and not ourselves?  “We The People” is an evidence-based starting point for pursuing inclusivity.  #BlackLivesMatter exists for the sole purpose of presenting evidence of a credible national security threat.  It is a public investigation into policies and practices that threaten the United States of America in its collective resolve to “form a more perfect union.”   

In the context of national political debate, #BlackLivesMatter is not supported by any political party, but is committed to securing the “blessings of liberty” to address historically unmet needs of historically disadvantaged citizens of the United States of America.  A sustained conversation on stolen peoples’ equity identifies ways and means to actuate an inheritance based on documented compromises in the process of forming a more perfect union.

Money-n-the-Bank is an economic security strategy discussed among A.A.E.C. elders since the 1998 Million Youth Movement in Atlanta.   It presents one in a diversity of tactics to be embraced in pursuing measurable and sustainable economic outcomes.   Money-n-the-Bank is inclusive in that it addresses economic needs of low to moderate income Americans.  It promotes a shovel-ready demonstration of a national candidate’s ability, commitment and capacity to govern.  

Specific Demands of #BlackLivesMatter

“We will seek justice for Brown’s family by petitioning for the immediate arrest of officer Darren Wilson and the dismissal of county prosecutor Robert McCullough. Groups that are part of the local Hands Up Don’t Shoot Coalition have already called for Wilson’s swift arrest, and some BLM riders also canvassed McCullough’s neighborhood as a way of raising the public’s awareness of the case.”

“We will help develop a network of organizations and advocates to form a national policy specifically aimed at redressing the systemic pattern of anti-black law enforcement violence in the US. The Justice Department’s new investigation into St Louis-area police departments is a good start, but it’s not enough. Our ride was endorsed by a few dozen local, regional and national organizations across the country – like the National Organization for Women (Now) and Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation – who, while maintaining different missions, have demonstrated unprecedented solidarity in response to anti-black police violence. We hope to encourage more organizations to endorse and participate in a network with a renewed purpose of conceptualizing policy recommendations.”

“We will also demand, through the network, that the federal government discontinue its supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement. And though Congress seems to finally be considering measures in this regard, it remains essential to monitor the demilitarization processes and the corporate sectors that financially benefit from the sale of military tools to police.”

“We will call on the office of US attorney general Eric Holder to release the names of all officers involved in killing black people within the last five years, both while on patrol and in custody, so they can be brought to justice – if they haven’t already.”

“And we will advocate for a decrease in law-enforcement spending at the local, state and federal levels and a reinvestment of that budgeted money into the black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools. This money should be redirected to those federal departments charged with providing employment, housing and educational services.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

How 2.1 Billion Believers can frame “The Conversation”

#WeAreOne – A Litany

LEADER: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (SMALL GROUP 12-20 CONVERSATION)


LEADER: Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast'ning rod, felt in the day that hope unborn had died; yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet, come to the place for which our fathers sighed? (SMALL GROUP 12-20 CONVERSATION)


LEADER: We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last, where the white gleam of our star is cast. (SMALL GROUP 12-20 CONVERSATION)    

PEOPLE: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead; and buried. The third day he arose from the dead’ he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. (SMALL GROUP 12-20 CONVERSATION)

LEADER: God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; thou who hast by thy might, led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray.  Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee. Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.  Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land.  (SMALL GROUP 12-20 CONVERSATION)

ALL: I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (TOWN HALL CONVERSATION)