Congratulations to the Rev. Jerry McAfee, newly elected president of the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP, and to the new board members. This is an auspicious time.
We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites. Along with Archbishop Tutu’s “ubuntu,” he demonstrated that “truth” and “reconciliation” are more than slogans: they are action paths to unity.
Minneapolis needs unity and reconciliation within the Black community and between White and Black people and institutions. Eyes are to be kept on the prize of equitable education, jobs, and housing.
Our hope and prayer is that the branch will move to carry out the NAACP mission: “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination,” helping to reverse the shattering of the African American political juggernaut from the outside and its implosion from the inside. We look to Rev. McAfee and the local branch to make this New Years’ resolution: provide the spark needed by a beleaguered and under siege African American community enduring well-calculated outrageous and dangerous attacks that are forces of nullification and reversal of the African American community, in:
• Education: reactionary forces, left and right, saying mis-education of African Americans is a mental health problem.
• Jobs in the police and fire departments diminishing: lowest number of African American applicants for police officers (first class in 25 years without an African American) and fire fighters (the lowest recruiting class number in 40 years).
• Jobs in general: diversity in hiring purposefully denied. Examples: transportation (road and light rail), Vikings Stadium (the largest public works project in Minnesota history, etc.).
• Justice: white washing police action. Example: T.T. Franklin.
• Housing. Example: substandard government housing, the American Heritage/Hollman project.
• Politics: no Black representation in City Hall and only two Black state senators.
Without change, projections indicate that by 2025, there will be no African Americans in either the police or fire departments. In the city of Minneapolis, as in Detroit and Baltimore, liberals and Democrats have used their majorities to turn back the clock, while Republicans and conservatives approvingly watch.
That is the wrong kind of unity. Our great need is to reconcile and unite within our community and, as in South Africa, with Whites. African American school youth, especially Black males, are being suspended in record numbers, with “mental health” being used as a procedural justification.
We also need New Year’s resolutions from the incoming mayor and other liberals on the city council (who claim once again that they are working on a racial equity plan): to provide equity action results, not more plans. The African American community is not a part of the planning: “plantation” all over again.
Circumstances are further complicated by the absence of an African American presence in City Hall. These are desperate times, and desperate circumstances calling for precise plans and precise strategies. Abundant outlines for finding answers exist (UM, HHH School of Public Affairs, archives of NAACP, Urban League, past Civil Rights commissions, my web site, etc.).
The re-emergence of NAACP branch to move with dispatch and effectiveness to recapture lost opportunities and prevent future losses would be a godsend to help reverse the demise of the African American community as a viable group of citizens. We urge the branch to hold hearings on issues that foster a house divided (see list above), and add hearings about the purposeful reversal of historic achievements of success in government and private sectors.
For Ron’s hosted radio and TV shows’ broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. For 47 “solution” papers, go www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocsolu tions.htm.