Archive for October, 2016

NAACP Strikes “Colored People” Again — October 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman October 29th, 2016

The call for a moratorium on charter schools by the NAACP is a case of “Throwing the baby out with the bath water.” While most Black folks are concentrating on Hillary and Donald, the largest and oldest “Colored” organization approved an internal resolution calling for a halt to the “expansion of charter schools” until those schools meet criteria set forth by the NAACP.

The NAACP lacks the power to enforce its resolution, but their call for this draconian measure does come with the familiar stench of other positions they have taken—and not taken—because of political and, of course, economic reasons, the latter of which seems to be the driving force behind this latest move.
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One of this country’s leading educators, Dr. Steve Perry, who has operated charter schools for years and recently took over the new charter school opened by Sean Combs, charter2Capital Prep, in Harlem, had this to say: “The NAACP national headquarters has received a significant amount of money from the teachers’ union. The only organizations to call for a moratorium on charter schools in particular, because they are non-union, are the teachers’ unions,” Perry went on to call the resolution, “absurd.” He further stated, “They couldn’t be more out of touch if they ran full speed in the other direction…the national [NAACP] is out of touch even with their own chapters.”
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Shavar Jeffries, Democrats for Education Reform, said, “Indiscriminately targeting all charter schools…while ignoring underperforming district schools undermines the quality and integrity of our entire education system. We should be fixing what’s broken and expanding what works, not pre-empting the choices of [Black] parents…”

Calling for a moratorium is indicative of the NAACP’s disregard for existing charter schools established, funded, and operated by Black people. The use of scare tactics, such as “privatization,” under the guise of concern for students, is either disingenuous or ignorant. Charter schools are about creating better options for education—they provide a choice.

I know and have spoken with several esteemed Black educators and operators of charter schools. charter9 Amefika Geuka, who founded and ran the Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba School in West Palm Beach, Florida for 16 years, was the largest Black employer of Black people in the county. He used his own funds to sustain the school and fought resistance by the district to keep his school opened despite the success of his graduates in college. One former student is now in law school and is the President of the Student Bar Association.
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Another long-time friend and charter school founder is Kwa David Whitaker, an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, who has managed as many as twelve schools. He shared with me the following: “It is the traditional system that has destroyed our children and nation. Putting this intense focus on charter schools is only an attempt to keep the focus off of the continuing ineptitude of our nation’s traditional public school system.”

Black parents spoke out against the NAACP’s decision by protesting during its convention. Roland Martin, News One Anchor, questioned NAACP administrator, Hillary Shelton, on whether the NAACP had invited any of those parents to speak or if it had called upon Black charter school leaders to give their input before the resolution was passed. After asking three times without getting an answer, Martin answered it himself: “NO.”
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Music mogul, Mr. Kenny Gamble, who is now a leading force in economic development and owner of eleven charter schools in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, has invested millions into educating our youth. He shared his experience with me and cited two factors in charter school operations: Academics and economics. My question: Why aren’t more Blacks engaged in ownership and control when it comes to the education of our own children?
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http://www.universalfamilyofschools.org/

The NAACP’s vote against charter schools is what Harold Cruse called “Non-Economic Liberalism.” Just as the NAACP will not allow its branches to purchase buildings for their offices and meeting space, via a clause in its original charter (no pun intended) written by Whites who founded the association, according to Dr. Khalid Al Mansour’s book, Betrayal by any Other Name, it now comes out against Blacks starting and controlling charter schools, which would add to our economic progress. I guess NAACP leaders realize that because Whites started the NAACP with their dollars, Whites can also end it by withholding their dollars.

The Wall Street Journal noted, it’s a “disgrace” that the NAACP’s idea of “advancement” is now to advance the interests of the unionized public school monopoly over the interests of their supposed constituents – black students and their parents.charter10

The NAACP must stop mimicking what it did in 1909 and support the new paradigm under which “Black” people operate. One charter school owner said, “The NAACP has outgrown its name; the only ‘Colored’ people left appear to be concentrated in the NAACP leadership.”

 

 

Buy Black Campaigns — October 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman October 25th, 2016

The advent of initiatives throughout this country to “Buy Black” and “Bank Black” can be traced back to the early 1900’s during which time campaigns similar to today’s efforts were established. Slogans such as “Double-Duty Dollars,” “Don’t shop where you can’t work,” and efforts such as Black Cooperatives cropped up as a result of our forebears understanding and being willing to act upon the fact that their dollars mattered.

Double Duty Dollar campaigns were simply what we call “Recycling Black Dollars” campaigns. As Blacks spent their money at Black owned businesses, the volume of business increased to a level where other Black folks could be hired by Black companies. In other words, we used our dollars to create our own jobs. “Don’t buy where you can’t work” campaigns helped increase Black employment in White owned businesses, again because “Black Dollars Matter” and the absence of Black dollars matters even more to those with whom we do business.

Black religious leaders also encouraged sensible Black dollar strategies. In Juliet E.K. Walker’s book, The History of Black Business in America, she cites a quote from religious leaders during that time. “To the Negro community, a business is more than a mere enterprise to make profit for the owner. From the standpoints of both the customer and the owner it becomes a symbol of racial progress, for better or for worse. And the preacher is expected to encourage his flock to trade with Negroes.”

Black Cooperatives among Black owned grocery stores, drug stores, shoe stores, and the beauty salon industry were quite prominent in the early 1900’s. In these co-ops members also did something we talk about today. They pooled their money to establish and support their own businesses, and Black churches were at the forefront of many of these efforts as well. Co-op shares were purchased by members, and the money was used to open businesses where the members shopped and, in essence, supported themselves by getting a return on their investment. W.E.B. DuBois envisioned what he called a “Cooperative Commonwealth” among Black folks.

The recently revived Black Bank Deposit campaign also has an interesting history. Prior to integration, as many as 134 Black owned banks had been established, in addition to Black credit unions, and other financial organizations. By World War II there were only six Black banks still in existence, including the one at the center of the current deposit campaign, Citizens Bank in Atlanta, founded by Herman Perry in 1921. It’s great to see a return to what we used to do with our dollars way back when.

Buying and banking Black are more than just hoopla and celebration, more than a moment in time, and more than a temporary gesture to “show” others how much money we have. Buying and banking Black are practices that should become habits, so much so that it becomes an “unconsciously competent” act, as President and CEO of the National Bankers Association and my longtime friend, Michael Grant, wrote in his book, Beyond Blame.

In order for a movement to be sustained it must be organized and it must have a vehicle through which our strategies can be tested, measured, adjusted, and brought to fruition. It must also comprise a critical mass of dedicated, resolute, unapologetic, and unrelenting foot soldiers to make the requisite sacrifices necessary for long term success.

Buying and banking Black are about leveraging our dollars to distribute our products cost efficiently and cost effectively, and having the ability to create economies of scale by working and buying cooperatively. We must think differently about opening bank accounts. They should be viewed as actual investments in our banks and credit unions, as we open saving accounts and other instruments that have a longer term positive effect on their balance sheets. Our nonprofit organizations should have some of their funds on account at Black banks as well, and we should hold them responsible for doing so. Buying and banking Black must have a positive impact on our own future.

What is that vehicle and who are those people that are already organized, already solidified, already sacrificing, already committed, and already depositing their funds into a Black bank? I’m glad you asked. It’s THE One million Conscious and Conscientious Black Contributors and Voters. Go to www.iamoneofthemillion.com and check it out. If you agree with some of our principles and positions, please join us.

 

 

The Cost of Living — October 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman October 17th, 2016

Since our political discussions are now X-Rated, so much so that we must ask the children to leave the room before we watch the news, the speeches, and the debates, we need to add another concern to the X-Rated list: Social Security. Silly me, that pales in comparison to what’s really important, doesn’t it?

Hillary’s emails, Bill and Donald’s dalliances and sexual conquests are obviously far more critical (and titillating) than a small issue like our disabled and elderly being able to live out their lives without having to worry about silly things like eating, breathing, and paying for life-saving medicines and treatments.
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Yes, the cost of living is increasing every day, but cost of living allowances (COLA) for those on Social Security are non-existent or ridiculously and embarrassingly low. The latest COLA “increases” for those most in need were cited in an article on CNN Money.

“Checks for 66 million beneficiaries will rise between 0.2% to 0.5% in 2017. That works out to between $2.61 and $6.53 a month more for the typical retiree, according to the American Institute for Economic Research, a nonpartisan think tank.” Say what?!!

The article continues, “The average retirement benefit check is currently $1,305.30, according to government figures. This is by far the smallest percentage increase of any year in which benefits did rise. But it’s better than 2016, when Social Security checks didn’t increase at all. There have only been three years without any increase at all since Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment was put in place in 1975 — 2010, 2011 and 2016.”

Someone said a nation is judged by how it treats the least among its citizens. There is also something that was said by a very special person once: “…what you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)
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If this nation does not come to its senses and get its priorities properly aligned, it’s not going to matter in the least who is the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The ethical and moral slide we are on right now is reprehensible and so detrimental to our young people. Moreover, we are standing by while our elders are dying for lack of essentials, having to make choices between food and rent, oxygen and heat or cooling and life-saving medicine.

The EpiPen controversy, where the cost was raised over 400% to an outrageous $608.00 for two Epinephrine pens that, according to industry experts cost no more than $30.00 (some say $20.00) to make and only $2.00 for the medicine inside the needles, is a prime example of the true cost of living for those with medical issues. I am told that a drug for debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis cost as much as $2,000.00 per month for two injections! This is shameful, and it speaks to our condition in this country, our greed, and our willingness to get as much profit as we can without regard for who it hurts. Money first and people second, maybe even third or fourth.
We should be outraged and appalled at this situation as we watch our parents and grandparents struggle to pay the ridiculous cost to maintain their lives. The cost of living for them is beyond their reach, and many are dying because of it. So what will we do about it? Will we continue to be entertained, mesmerized, and embarrassed by the politicians and their operatives who are too busy trying to find more dirt on one another, or will we turn our attention to the much more important problem of our disabled and elderly and the day-to-day problems they face. Our politics should go from X-Rated to Rx-Rated.
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As much as thousands of dollars for prescription meds is not indicative of how a great nation should care for its elderly and those who suffer from horrendous diseases. I believe we can do much better by the least among us. Do you? If so, let your your representatives know and urge them to help make their less fortunate constituents’ cost of living decrease and their Cost of Living Allowances increase. cola6