Oct. 28, Operation People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect honored Dr. Carlos Russell, the founder of Black Solidarity Day, in East New York, Brooklyn.

In 1969, inspired by Douglas Turner Ward’s fictional play “Day of Absence” in which a small town in the South is suddenly devoid of its Black population and is crippled by their absence, Russell established Black Solidarity Day as an annual day the Monday before Election Day in November in which Black people are encouraged to not attend school or work and abstain from shopping in white establishments.

At 83 years young, Russell delivered an inspiring speech to Operation P.O.W.E.R members and supporters. The well-known author, activist and educator was given a proclamation honoring him from City Council member Inez Barron for his many years of service to the Black community. He also received a citation from Assemblyman Charles Barron.

This year’s Black Solidarity Day is Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, the day before the local elections.