“The most important day for Black people this year in America is Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, the 51st anniversary of Black Solidarity Day,” said Omowale Clay, activist and December 12th Movement member. “On Black Solidarity Day the Black nation declares a general strike on this oppressive system by declaring ‘No Work, No School, No Shopping.’ The total withdrawal of our energy and labor from this system is indeed one of the highest forms of Black power being exercised.”
The day, celebrated nationwide, was created by the late Dr. Carlos Russell and inspired by the play ”A Day of Absence” written by Douglas Turner Ward. Activist/attorney Roger Wareham noted that from the very beginning of our “forced existence in America, it has been the Black nation as the essential worker building up the wealth of those in power as we remain in dire poverty. Although ‘legally’ our nation may have been ‘declared free,’ we know our reality to be quite the contrary of what ‘liberty’ looks like.”
In speaking with Malik Callendar, key organizer of Black Solidarity Day 2020 (BSD), he was saying, “Freedom can be defined as the absence of domination, the state of not being imprisoned, or the power to act, speak or think, as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” He went on, “We know in fact that every day we are dominated by this anti-Black system, imprisonment for us is not just what happens to brothers and sisters behind bars, but the day-to-day mental imprisonment that we face every day in a place that was created to keep us oppressed. We are indeed restrained from self-actualization as our basic human needs are stripped from us every day, 24/7 365.” He concluded, “Black people are in a war against the false ideology of white supremacy and its economic underpinning––the greed of monopoly capitalism.
This year, a number of key Black organizations have been getting the word out into the community to participate in BSD. From the African American Association of Co-op City to the Nation of Islam; from NAKO (National Association of Kawaida Organizations)] to CEMOTAP (Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People), all have been pushing the idea of solidarity and self-determination through no work, no school, no shopping on BSD.
The December 12th Movement, which took the lead this year in making the call to BSD at the end of their 2019 program, has gotten the support of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU), which expresses the critical role that Black labor has historically played at the center of all Black struggle.
The coalition believes, regardless of the handful of Blacks such as the Jay-Z’s, Tyler Perry’s, or Oprah’s of the world who are displayed to us as examples of why “racism is over,” and why we need to “get over slavery;” they know that the fact remains the majority of Black people are working class people who are constantly struggling to make ends meet and are without affordable and adequate housing or health care, and whose children remain miseducated, and whose water is knowingly poisoned with lead.
There is a strong belief articulated among organizers; “Whether it is Joe Biden or Donald Trump in office; Black people must know that our solutions and true salvation will not come from either candidate, but instead from our own decision to be self-determined and our will to make a real demand for the total and complete change of this system. We must begin to want more for ourselves, question our conditions and fight to put ourselves in a position of power. In a world where technology is king and is being pushed forward quicker than ever. Black people should not be left behind.”
Dr. Segun Shabaka, leading member of NAKO, constantly speaks of the need for operational unity. He believes it is an absolute necessity to move the dial forward. And Brother Callander, summing up said, “We saw how this summer shook America to its core, as masses across America and around the world witnessed the multiple police murderers of innocent Black people. We continue that battle as we continue to see, as recently in Philadelphia that Black lives matter only to some, but Black Liberation must be our goal. And BSD shows the ability to realize the power that is in our hands, to withdraw ourselves on this historic day will push the weapon of a ‘General Strike’ clearly into our arsenal of struggle––in the spirit of its late founder Dr. Carlos Russell.”
BSD organizations are asking the community to join them Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, 3 p.m. for a march and rally, assembling at Bed-Stuy Restoration Plaza (1360 Fulton Street) in Brooklyn. There will also be a virtual street rally at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom: https://bit.ly/2GYnrt7 and streaming to FB @ Black Soliarity Day or December 12th Movment. People are encouraged to bring their own red, black and green flags to the rally. And if unable to participate in the rally then they are encouraged to fly the red, black and green flags in their windows as a sign of solidarity.