There should be no work, no school and no shopping on Monday, Nov. 7, Black Solidarity Day, say activists like Michael Hooper and Jitu Weusi. It should be a day of contemplation, reflecting, regrouping and organizing.
Founded in 1969 by Dr. Carlos Russell, Black Solidarity Day was a reaction to the injustices of the time, including the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
On this day, Black people unite and discuss the issues going on in the community. The day is always held on the Monday before Election Day. In 2008, Black Solidarity Day was a particularly memorable one, with the presence of the first Black presidential nominee who went on to become the first Black president of the United States.
This year is not a presidential election year and is an off year. There are not many major races happening; however, community participation is still urged in the smattering of elections that are going on.
Another historic aspect of the founding of Black Solidarity Day is that it was inspired by the Douglas Turner Ward play “Day of Absence.” This controversial play focused on what a Southern town would be like if all the Black people disappeared; it brought up many questions about how much power Black people have in society.
Black Solidarity Day uses some of the ideas from “Day of Absence,” and Black people are encouraged not to go to work or school and not to purchase anything on this day to show the value of Black people to the economy and everyday life in America.
A program the day before Black Solidarity Day will be held in Brooklyn at Boys & Girls High School, at 1700 Fulton St. Doors open at 2 p.m., and adults and children alike are welcome to join. This is the annual venue for cultural and political expression from local activists and artists.
The Pre-Black Solidarity Day Rally will feature poetry, youth dancing and drumming. Russell is scheduled to attend. For more information, call (718) 773-0246.