|Black history - guide to Black empowerment|
|Thursday, 02 February 2012 12:31|
Throughout February's Black History Month, there will be the usual programs highlighting achievements made by Black men and women in America since the 17th century. The achievements of these pioneers are well documented, and are the source of great pride and appreciation. However, while Blacks are proud to commemorate the leaders of this historical heritage, the leadership of today's Black community faces a crisis for future generations.
This is a community of potential strength and power, but it's questionable if this potential is being realized. Despite the legacies of past generations and, according to the 2010 US Census, comprising 12.6 percent (39 million) of America's population, the Black community still struggles with the many odds stacked against its progress.
The Black community needs quality leaders who can accurately recognize its needs, and develop and implement solutions, while inspiring others in the community to make a difference. Today too many members of the Black community across America are reluctant to take the kind of pivotal leadership role of their revolutionary, historical icons in areas such as education, business and politics, to empower the community.
Some may argue that these issues cannot be solved in isolation, that the community's destiny is dependent on outside forces. This is a mindset the Black community must cast aside. We must own our own success. The community through its leaders must be willing to take new risks for the progress of the community.
Perhaps this vacuum comes from a persistent reluctance, almost a fear, among the community to believe in radical change and in the leaders who ignite the spark, such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2007, a large percentage of Blacks believed Barack Obama was unrealistic in his presidential aspirations, and genuinely doubted he could be elected as America's president. Today, Obama's win is due in part to the overwhelming support he got from the community.
An urgent priority in the mission is ensuring more registered Black voters participate in federal, state and local elections and more Blacks come forward to seek public offices. A strong, visionary leader can develop strategies to garner support to win public office, even where the Black vote is in the minority. Barack Obama proved this can be done.
Although more Black representation is needed, the community must be vigilant that those seeking public office present realistic plans for solving the challenges faced by the community. Every elected Black public officer must be accountable to the community.
Among other primary concerns of the community is the high unemployment rate, averaging some 17 percent compared to the national average of 8.8 percent. However, Blacks will find it difficult to compete in the increasingly competitive job market if they are not sufficiently educated or trained. Community leaders are needed to direct more Black youth to educational opportunities. In fact, education is more than a means to employment. It is the basis for real social change within the community. An individual hardly recognizes the need for social change unless he is suitably educated.
History holds the guidelines to the future, and the rich Black history and outstanding achievements of those who led before must be a guide.
|Last Updated on Friday, 03 February 2012 14:57|