By James Clingman
Exactly what is there in 1 million Black folks united in their will and purpose? What is in a million brothers and sisters who are tired of the same old rhetoric, the same old leaders, and the same old ways of dealing with political and economic empowerment? What’s in a group of 1 million Blacks who are unapologetic about their identity? What’s in such a group that, collectively and cooperatively, is willing to sacrifice some of its members’ time, talent, and treasure for the uplift of Black people in this country?
Considering our relative position within the political system, is it rational to believe that 1 million like-minded Black voters could affect positive change by leveraging their votes to obtain concessions from candidates prior to and after an election? What would be the result of 1 million Black independent-thinking voters deciding to register as “No Party Affiliation” rather than as Dems, Repubs, or any other formal political party? What if we followed through on Theodore Johnson’s article on The Root.com titled, “Black America Needs Its Own President?”
Is it reasonable to think that 1 million conscious Black consumers would have the power to affect the bottom line of corporations to the point of getting those companies to take public positions in support of justice for Black people? Could those 1 million consumers ultimately obtain reciprocity in the marketplace by leveraging and redirecting a greater portion of their dollars to their own businesses?
Many questions to answer, yes, but those questions point to choices; they will suggest to some of us, first, that Black people would never declare themselves independent of the Democrat Party and that Black people will never cooperate in support of one another economically. But to others of us those questions raise attractive alternatives to what we are doing now; they suggest very strongly that we can be more self-determined via simple but powerful tactics that impact the two systems that run this nation and the world.
Recognizing that everyone will not want to walk the road toward economic and political transition (After all, everyone did not want to go with Harriet Tubman), there are no “marching orders” being trumpeted by the group that is shouldering the responsibility of bringing together 1 million conscious Black voters and consumers. This is a “Whosoever will, let him come” movement.
The movement is simply called, “One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors.” To the skeptics out there who think Black folks are too individualistic to come together in such a large number, that 1 million Black folks will not cooperate, that we have too many schisms among us, and we will not trust one another, we say, “Not so.”
The key word in the name of the group is “Conscious.” Even further, there is no need to pressure anyone to join. I know there are 1 million conscious Blacks in America (about 2 percent) who will join this movement without being prodded, which eliminates our need to cajole, persuade, or spend a lot of time trying to convince them of why they should. If we can’t find two in every hundred among us, the result would be analogous to Abraham failing to find a few righteous men in Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Million Man March proved that Blacks will come together across religious, ideological, and economic lines for a righteous and necessary cause. Those who attended nearly 20 years ago will remember the cooperative and accommodating spirit among the men, the supportive attitudes of the women who stayed home and encouraged their men to participate, and the subsequent follow through by many of the men upon returning home. Much good work was done by individuals who were committed and determined to keep the promise they made that day.
As Amefika Geuka always quotes Marcus Garvey, “There is nothing common to man that man cannot do.” We have already shown through many collective efforts that all we need are a relative few conscious, committed, dedicated, and intentional men and women to accomplish the tasks at hand.
With that in mind, rather than ask “what’s” in a million, we must see “who’s” in a million? If you have not added your name to the list, one thing is for sure: You are not in the million. Names are being added every day; just go to www.amefika.com to be informed, and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
We can do more to help our organizations, our businesses, and our schools by leveraging our votes and by “contributing” our resources to this movement, thereby, getting more political quo in return for our political quid and reciprocity in the marketplace. Be “One of the Million” and let’s finally let our people and everyone else know that we are very serious about being economically and politically empowered. Whosoever will…
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, Blackonomics.com.