By James Clingman
Differences versus commonalities: Enslavement was different in the U.S. from the brand that was practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil and other South American countries. Thus, we view our lives through different lenses when it comes to independence, entrepreneurship, and politics.
We must build bridges, learning from and sharing with one another as we go along, because we have a wealth of knowledge and command trillions of dollars in income. It’s simply a matter of pooling our intellectual talent and our economic resources to build and sustain our own economy within larger economies. Once that takes place, Black people will no longer have to worry about negative public policy issues that adversely affect our people. Economic leverage will take care of that and more.
Take a look at Caribbean economic enclaves established by various groups in this country, especially in New York City. Look at the number of businesses owned by folks from the “islands” and how some of those businesses started through the use of “Sou-Sous” or “Susus,” honor-based revolving loan funds used by the members.
Individual members deposit a set a-mount of money into the Sou-Sou on a regular basis, and the entire amount goes to one of the members each month. It runs at least until each member is given the entire amount. One person holds the money and makes the distributions.
Businesses are started this way as well as other financial ventures, such as down payments for home purchases, paying off bills, and education expenses.
The concept of pooling Black dollars based on trust is a very strong and positive lesson for us, if we would just follow it. It is certainly not a new concept; we are just short on the trust factor. It is sad that, except for weekly church contributions, Black folks are very reluctant to pool our money and help one another.
We trust preachers, many of whom use offerings to support their own lavish lifestyles, with no accountability and no benefit going back to the members. What would be so hard about trusting some of our brothers and sisters to manage a Sou-Sou?
The answer to that question is found in the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors, where the key word is “Conscious.” Amos Wilson describes it very well in his book, Afrikan-Centered Consciousness Versus the New World Order: Garveyism in the Age of Globalism.
Wilson used Garvey’s words to point the primary ingredient for Black progress: Love. “Marcus Garvey recognized as well that we must, as people, love one another. As all great teachers have taught, love is the foundation for any group’s cohesiveness and unity of purpose. Love is the greatest inhibitor of aggression and internal conflict.”
Love, respect, and trust among our people would lead to a higher level of consciousness among our people, which would cause us – compel us, to organize and cooperate for the uplift of the entire group. Wilson went on to say, “…the kind of world you exist in reflects the kind of consciousness you have.” He admonished us to elevate ourselves into a “new level of consciousness” in order to change the way we approach and use real power.
Many of the problems we face today exist because we fail to see ourselves as a nation, again, as Garvey taught. The OMCBV&C not only understands that but is working hard to emulate the principle within our ranks. Wilson explained that consciousness and power go hand in hand. If we are conscious about who we are, first, and then use that knowledge in a very practical and appropriate manner, via our dollars and then our votes, we would harness the real power we must have in order to move to our rightful and deserved position in this nation and the world. Please go to the website: www.iamoneofthemillion.com, read the information, and decide if you want to be a part of this movement. If so, sign up and get busy.
We cannot be timid and hesitant about it, as we watch other groups doing what we must do. We cannot be made to feel guilty for building strength and using it to our own advantage, as we watch other groups taking care of their business. Our consciousness must be raised, and we must love, trust, and respect one another to the point that we are able to wield the leverage of a committed and determined group of Black people willing to contribute our time, talent, and treasure to gain the freedom and power we must have to be respected by others.
It has come down to coalescence or obsolescence for Black people. The examples and lessons from our people in the Caribbean and here in America are bulwarks for coalescence and, thus, for empowerment and the prevention of our economic and political demise.
Our future depends on us.
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 can be reached through his website, blackonomics.com. He is the author of Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, which is available through his website; professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle eBooks.