Continued betrayal of Black youth by Black leadership

Ron EdwardsBlack leadership is trying to get additional funding for their organizations inside the racial spoils industry. They are doing so by talking about violence instead of education and training needed by young people to qualify for jobs that will enable supporting families and contribute to reducing violence.

Since the Minnesota legislature convened their short session March 8th, there has been little news coverage regarding legislation targeted for working out formulas of peace to deal with the escalation of violence in Minneapolis (between January 1 and May 9, 2016, there have been 121 individuals shot). Despite attempts by Twin City Black youth and their organizations to discuss and propose solutions, Black leadership dismisses efforts of some of the most long-standing gang organizations to work together to begin reducing the ongoing violence.

One organization developed a plan that recognized the problems and offered workable solutions to which other organizations agreed. But they were purposefully shoved aside and told that representatives of traditional “less threatening” organizations present their recommendations and proposals (still without credit).

This sends the wrong message. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported earlier this month, that “out of the 38 million young men in the U.S. in 2014, five million or 13 percent were jobless, and one million or three percent were incarcerated.” “Economics, policy, and skill-set changes contributed to the large increase in joblessness and incarceration from 1980 to 2014.”

How is trust to be developed if the solution suggested by these young people are pirated by Black leaders of churches, community organizations, and legislative committees that present them as their own, despite having little relationship and familiarity with the issues that are contributing to the violence gripping this city?

President Obama said in his recent commencement address at Howard University, that despite progress, “gaps” still exist, that “anger at injustice [is] not enough,” that besides passion “you need a strategy.” These gang members provided strategies, yet were dismissed. They need to be included and given credit for their ideas. Betrayal will once again make it difficult to secure peace.

The good news: they have not withdrawn their proposals. They still seek to work with larger organizations. The latter are attempting to keep hidden that these young men are equally concerned and want to work to establish and maintain peace.

Why shut the door in the face of those prepared to come to the table of mediation and negotiation, denying what I titled my second book, “A Seat for Everyone”? Those undermining the negotiations care only for themselves and their “do good” organizations, as they accept damage to those they are supposed to serve as a “fee” they are willing to pay to get funding.

In light of the death of a young man a week ago in an alley in North Minneapolis — whose family and organization is one of the most influential and effective in the city — it is becoming more difficult to identify solutions and corrective action reflective of how dangerous the city was in the early 1990s. Black leaders who say these gangs cannot understand the governance and the doctrines of politics (as in Blacks can’t be quarterbacks), are repeating what Whites told us before and after the Civil War, during and after Jim Crow. Extreme care is needed to give credit to where credit is due when presenting to the MN legislature and to big MN corporations.

Significant damage has been done that needs to be undone. It can be repaired, but not by denial. If they are kept at a distance, both sides will cry out, for different reasons, “God help us all.”

Stay tuned.


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