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.