A framework for change in the Black community


There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. All over the internet and in many other places within the United States, many African Americans are asking, “How do we improve the state of the Black community?” Many of our heroes have in common the task of improving the state of the Black community. It is no secret that there are major changes that need to be undertaken for the African American community.

“Change” has been a common mantra within the African American community for over a century. There are several areas where the African American community needs change, including economics, education, employment, politics, health, family development and housing to name a few. These areas have significant overlap and are interconnected.

In 2015, Author Stephan A. Schwartz published The 8 Laws of Change, which examined how to be an agent of personal and social transformation. In the book, Schwartz was able to identify eight strategies that have been proven to create successful change on a personal and collective level.

Ultimately, creating lasting and impactful change starts with one person making a definitive choice. Reviewing and adapting these eight laws to our needs may provide the actions necessary to improve the state of the African American community.

The eight laws are as follows:

  1. The individuals, individually, and the group, collectively, must share a common intention.
  2. The individuals and the group may have goals, but they may not have cherished outcomes.
  3. The individuals in the group must accept that their goals may not be reached in their lifetimes and be okay with that.
  4. The individuals in the group must accept that they may not get either credit or acknowledgment for what they have done, and be authentically okay about this.
  5. Each person in the group regardless of gender, religion, race or culture must enjoy fundamental equality even as the various roles in the hierarchy of the effort are respected.
  6. The individuals in the group must forswear violence in word, act or thought.
  7. The individuals in the group must make their private selves consistent with their public postures.
  8. The individuals in the group, and the group collectively, must always act from the “beingness” of integrity.

This is an extensive list of concrete strategies that can provide a framework for change within the African American community. Leadership is something that is often questioned and critiqued within the African American community. However, leadership is not something that many individuals aspire to achieve.

Leadership requires great responsibility and bravery. In a society that causes significant toxic stress, it takes significant encouragement for individuals to take the pledge of leadership. However, if you are serious about improving the state of the African American community, you must play your role.

I would encourage you to analyze your own life and see if you can apply to it any of the eight laws of change. It may be worth the effort to see how these eight laws can impact your life.

Change is something that we all desire, from relatively small things like losing weight or stopping smoking cigarettes to larger issues such as racism, sexism, or ending police brutality. All change starts with an individual making a decisive decision. If you are interested in making change within your life or for the African American community or both, it might be best to not look out the window but to look in the mirror.


Brandon Jones M.A. is a mental health practitioner. He welcomes reader responses to Brandon@jegnainstitute.com or follow him on twitter @UniversalJones.