Newark is hosting the Third National Black Political Convention in 2022 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) April 28 through May 1. The announcement was made last week by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jackson, Miss. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and R&B singer James Mtume.
The event’s theme will be “Many Roads, One Destiny: Unity Without Uniformity.” NJIT was chosen as the site of the convention because the school ranks No. 1 in New Jersey in awarding engineering degrees to African American students.
“I think some of the most significant things happen in history when you get the right people in the right place at the right time and I think that’s what we are,” said Lumumba.
The first National Black Political Convention (also known as the Gary Convention) was held March 10 to March 12, 1972, in Gary, Ind. Approximately 10,000 African Americans gathered to discuss, debate, and advocate for Black people in the United States.
“Young Black people must demonstrate ‘Unity Without Uniformity,’ their implication will showcase various elements of Black excellence, impact will call for a change of the guard in Black leadership,” Mtume said. “The ‘now’ political generation must be the ‘now’ leadership.”
Part of the stated goal was to increase the number of Black elected officials, increase representation, and create a Black agenda for fundamental change in the lives of Black people. Baraka’s father, Amiri Baraka, was one of the organizers of the first convention.
“I am proud that the Third National Black Convention will be held in Newark at the historic NJIT,” said Baraka. “NJIT has been an incredible partner in moving our city forward and will be home to this landmark meeting of minds and purpose. As the 2022 gathering approaches, we will purposefully meet in small groups to discuss a variety of topics, including public policy, criminal justice, economic empowerment, mental and emotional wellness, religious and spiritual health, and the importance of the cultural arts in our daily lives.”
The organizers of the convention said there’s a significant need for Black people to come together, to discuss circumstances and create action steps to move the community-at-large forward.
“This would be similar to the historical traditions of The Niagara Falls Conference (1905); the Congress of Afrikan People (1970); The National Black Political Convention (1972); National Black Student Unity Congress (1986); and the Convention of the Oppressed (1993). It is quite possible that Amiri Baraka Sr.’s call-to-action, ‘Unity Without Uniformity,’ can be actualized, if a working unity is developed with a strong focus on points of commonality,” the organizers said.