On November 3, 1969, Dr. Carlos Russell was inspired by a play written and produced by Douglas Turner Ward entitled “A Day of Absence” which depicted a small southern town experiencing the ramifications of the unexpected absence of all the Black people. Dr. Russell initiated the call for a national Black Solidarity Day on the day before election day. A day of absence from school, work, and shopping; a day for Black people to remove themselves from business as usual in resistance.

This year, as we approach the 53rd anniversary of Black Solidarity Day, we must recapture the heart of its principles. We must come together on Monday, November 7, 2022 for a Day of Resistance and Reparations—an assessment of which way forward, a collective action that will impact the political and economic system focusing on health care and reparations. 

We must demand President Biden issue an executive order to solidify a state-of-the-art healthcare delivery system to our communities which have been exploited for centuries. And, in doing so, address the principal issue of concrete reparations.

Black Solidarity Day has historically been held each year on the day before election day in order to heighten the duplicity of the U.S. political process and to exert the economic power of the masses of our people. No work, no school, and no shopping allows us to fundamentally impact the political-economy. The absence of transit workers, nurses, teachers, social services, utility workers, and government staffers would cripple the city. Restaurants, retail stores, entertainment, and sports would shut down.

As the right wing in this country becomes more and more virulent, hostile, and violent toward people of color, we must stand in solid unity. The relentless suppression of our votes demands a conscious analysis of the political-economic system itself.

I will be on the ground with the December 12th Movement and many other organizations in NYC at the Black Solidarity Day ‘Black Unity Rally’ on Monday, November 7 at 7 p.m. at the historic New Canaan Baptist Church, 228 Putnam Avenue, the People’s Republic of Brooklyn. For more information, call 718-398-1766.

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