In case you aren’t aware, there continue to be disturbing trends in the unemployment data. You may have heard in the media that the unemployment numbers last month were optimistic, but that was not true for the African American community. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment declined for every demographic within the white community, but it actually increased for every measured group within the African American community (men, women and teenagers). Even worse is the fact that after this recession is over, black unemployment won’t be any better than white unemployment is right now (Racial Inequality 101). As you can read in this article, I am perpetually united with other black scholars and public figures who are deeply concerned about this issue.
Many years ago, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King shared their visions for the African American community. Dr. King’s dream has been co-opted and morphed into a message that has become both shallow and commercialized, while Malcolm’s dream was forgotten altogether. Both of these men told us long ago that black unemployment would continue to be a chronic economic disease for our nation until African Americans find ways to own some of the businesses that are giving out jobs. But after spending 400 years having our wealth extracted, thus killing our ability to pass anything onto our children, we continue to find ourselves economically marginalized.
To help alleviate these issues, we’ve put together two initiatives. The first is the Ujamaa Initiative to support black businesses. I have agreed to serve as the national spokesperson for the Ujamaa Initiative, which has the sole objective of bringing together black businesses with consumers wishing to support them. We must find ways to strengthen the businesses in our communities instead of begging for jobs that will never come to pass. If you’d like to support the initiative, you can sign up for free by clicking here.
The second initiative we’ve put together is the "Less Talk, More Action Empowerment Tour," which I’ve joined with financial experts Ryan Mack and Manyell Akinfe, along with Columbia University Education Professor Christopher Emdin and Entrepreneurship guru Andrew Morrison. The tour is designed to travel the United States to offer substantive, tangible solutions to economic problems that continue to plague the black community. We address three key issues that continue to be ignored by politicians clamoring for our votes: Educational inequality, Economic inequality and Mass Incarceration. All three of these issues work together as (what I refer to as) the Holy Trinity of Racial Oppression and continue to decimate the black family in America. The Your Black World Coalition, which now has 76,000 members nation-wide, is committed to finding solutions to these problems.
To find out more about the Less Talk, More Action Tour, please visit this link. We’ve taken the tour to New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. The next stop is New Orleans on January 27th. If you’d like to support the Your Black World Coalition in some way, please feel free to reach out to me directly. Our goal is to embrace black scholarship in action….you won’t see us hiding away in our offices writing research papers that only a few dozen people are going to read – we take our knowledge and expertise to the people where it belongs.
Until we meet again, stay strong, be blessed and be educated.
Dr. Boyce Watkins