Watkins, Sharpton, Jealous, Martin and Joyner “Measure the Movement” on Black Leadership


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

Earlier this month, I participated in “Measuring the Movement,” a forum that brought together 10 leaders from the black community to discuss the issues that are pertinent to all of us.  The forum was hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, and became a productive gathering that laid out a variety of visions for the African American community.

My goal in being part of this forum was to do what I could to best represent the 55,000 members of the Your Black World Coalition and to talk about what I consider to be the Holy Trinity of Black Oppression:  The economic system, the educational system and the criminal justice system.

I was happy to see that NAACP President Ben Jealous and I are on the same page with regard to education and criminal justice.  The NAACP recently released a very telling report that carefully explains how many state governments have stopped funding education in order to pay for bigger prisons.   By choosing incarceration over education, we are dooming our nation to failure.

These thoughts went through my mind as I read about the case of Tonya McDowell, the homeless woman in Connecticut who was arrested this week for sending her child to a school outside her county (but if you’re homeless, do you really have a county that belongs to you?).  The willingness to spend money locking up Ms. McDowell while neglecting her the money to educate her child is beyond repulsive, reminding us that we have to fight to reclaim the soul of a nation gone mad.  We must reclaim our core values as a nation and stop supporting self-destructive policies.

To watch the Measuring the Movement forum, please click here.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


Filed under African Americans

6 responses to “Watkins, Sharpton, Jealous, Martin and Joyner “Measure the Movement” on Black Leadership

  1. L.Crabtree

    This should have been addressed long time ago.Although my heart goes out to Ms.Dowell,it takes this before our GREAT LEADERS decide to step to the plate.This should have gotten attention when the great state of Texas proved that things are BIg in Texas by biulding over one hundred prisons.

  2. DrEnergy

    I wholeheartedly agree with L. Crabtree, this kind of irony & uncivilized activity, therewith, has been an ongoing problem for decades (if not centuries). In fact, when we look carefully at the US’s history, in terms of its prison building, Black men have always been at the top of its incarceration list or watch list. It’s as if the whole idea around building prisons was put in place to incarcerate the Black male with the goal of stunting the growth of the Black populace in general. For instance, when loitering laws were in place during the Jim Crow era (ending in 1965), which said if you didn’t have a job and were present in the eyes of the public on a street corner, etc. you were loitering which allowed law enforcement to fine you or lock you up if you couldn’t pay the fine. Now, if you didn’t have a job you didn’t have the money, therefore you went to jail. Being that we were excluded from having a “social & economic well being,” then, as well as now, based on not having our own resources, prison building escalated during the days of Jim Crow on up to this very moment… Today immigrants have been allowed into the US & they have been given resources (a job) to set them on a path to attain the Dream (a home), while we continue to be preyed upon by the “system.” Perhaps, we as a people, need to be “de-cultured” so that we may acquire solid potential to get on the same page with solving our problems. We have a “God Given Right” to do that…

  3. DrEnergy

    Sir, I feel exactly where you’re coming from. This is an old issue that should have been given credible attention decades ago. However, I still hold firm to the fact that until we control our own resources we’ll continue to have problems with this system. In other words, this system was designed by colonist, for colonist.

  4. Pingback: Dr. Boyce Watkins: The Tonya McDowell Case | News One

  5. Jana

    Loved the segment and I caught it by accident and told many others. Please get the word out, our community still is not fully aware of this movement. It’s just awesome. All the participants and the hosts addressed key issues facing the community. measuring the progress is a first, before with Tavis Smiley’s Black Agenda just involved inviting a lot of high profile folks and having a dicsussion. Then Smiley came back year after year talking about the same old topics, sold his books, got many to contribute, sold them and we have no idea where the money went, since many provided ideas on the blog. Bottom nothing was accomplished, just a Chit Chat group

    It’s great to have an actual movement and mearsure that movement because that’s the only way we can achieve oru goals and make real progress.

    Thanks to all and God Bless

    Loved hearing the young man who advised that the majority of our Black Churches Pastors are more concerned with Getting Credit than Adopting A School and helping our children. No surprises

  6. Pingback: Dr. Boyce Watkins: The Tonya McDowell Case | Breaking News for Black America

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