Hawk Newsome (299036)

Our liberation will not come by way of the ballot. Only one thing can break the 400-year-old chains that America has us shackled in. Our freedom comes through Black unity and this is something that we all know. The question is why Black unity has been so elusive. The obvious answer is that a white supremacist power structure continuously oppresses us. The answer that we do not wish to speak about is the failure of Black leadership to organize our people. I too am part of the problem. However, we must all come together to provide our people with solutions. The key to our success as a people lies in more Black opportunities.

The fact that Trump is out and Biden is in will not eradicate Black poverty. If for some strange reason Joe Biden is different from every other president in American history and keeps his campaign promises to our people then we will still be in trouble. The reason being is that Black people do not spend their money with Black people. According to the Black Star Project a dollar spends 6 hours in the Black community, 17 days in the white community, 20 days in the Jewish community, and 30 days in the Asian community. This simple yet profound practice is the reason why these communities garner so much political power. This is why their unemployment rate is always better than Black folks. Most importantly this is why they own and control their communities. The fact that they invest in Political PACs is why they own their politicians.

Kamala Harris will be the first Black woman elected as vice president of the United States. Black politicians have held prominent seats since 1870 when Hiram Revels was elected as the first Black United States senator. The question that we must ask is does holding an elected seat empower us as a people, or is it just a symbolic win. At the very least our elected officials should be able to ensure that our children receive a quality education. Our children should not be taught from books that tell them that their history begun in slavery. Black children should not have to celebrate slave owners and people like Christopher Columbus that committed genocidal acts against some of their ancestors. They should not be spoon fed propaganda that reinforces the American narrative that they are second class citizens. At the very least Black politicians should ensure that our children receive educations that prepare them for college. As a result, we would not have the highest cultural college dropout rate. As a people, we must take control of schools in our communities.

We simply need to build communities from our neighborhoods. Individuals and families should host Friday night gatherings where we discuss politics and current events. We can base the gathering in Christ or whatever your spiritual practice is. This is not about drinking and having fun as much as it is about communicating and productivity. We need to be identifying racist systems and figuring out how we will divest or tear them down. We need a cultural revolution that starts with us coming together.

At the end of the day. Black people have carried the Democratic Party for far too long. The same party that failed to employ or educate us. The same party that allows cops to brutalize us and corporations to oppress us. The people in the Black Lives Matter movement have forced more legislation and policy in the last five years than we’ve seen in the last 20 years. We are revolutionizing America. We will not sit back and be patient and we will force the issues. This is why we are building out a new organization called Black Opportunities. We need action now to empower the people. No one is coming to save us. Not government, not the police and no politicians. Black Power starts in our homes.

Hawk Newsome is the president of Black Lives Matter Greater NY.