As we know, there are fraudulent, compromised and conflicted people in our community who deem themselves “conscious” or “progressive.”
They often demonstrate poor or inadequate analysis, pontificate about problems without offering solutions, offer solutions/theories without implementing them, develop ill-conceived or dishonest plans/projects, and fail to create viable organizations and institutions to transmit ideas and practices for present and future generations.
Fortunately, all is not lost! We also have plenty of Souljahs, sincere and competent folk who want Black people to reclaim our power, exercise control over our lives, be liberated from outside or internal oppression, and who do all they can to bring these plans into fruition.
If you desire to be in that second group, here are some basic suggestions for doing so. You sincerely want to help Black people? Here’s how:
- Study to understand empowering African values (Maat for example), civilizations, contributions to humanity and how Africa was attacked and weakened. Also know how our ancestors resisted outside subjugation.
- Study to understand key methods of oppression and the tactics they employ, in addition to their objectives. You must study white supremacy/racism, colonialism, chattel slavery, segregation/jim crow, imperialism, patriarchy, mass incarceration, and capitalism.
- Be familiar with important Black people, organizations and movements for social justice/liberation, in addition to the challenges they faced, their victories/contributions, and mistakes or miscalculations.
- Be familiar with the strategies and people used to undermine our leaders, organizations, and movements. Cointelpro is a good reference for this.
- Acquaint yourself with our own self-defeating behaviors and attitudes; We have internalized many negative ideas, habits and values taught to us by our oppressors. To empower our people, we must be courageous and honest enough to identify and resolve our internal demons and shortcomings.
- Refuse to be a one-man or woman show. Individual superstars might be entertaining and very talented, and they might even win a few games by themselves. But they will never win a championship. For this, we need teams. A strong team amplifies the skills and impact of each individual teammate exponentially. A team provides more resources and support than an individual. No one person – regardless of his/her talent – can defeat an opposing team of people. In all our efforts, we should solicit the help of other brothers sisters to form powerful and organized efforts.
- Based on all the above points, develop sound strategies, organizations, institutions, movements and/or programs to help our people “Wake up, Clean up and Stand up!” A relative minority of people have done points 1-6 or done so effectively enough to accurately understand the complexity of issues we face. Even fewer have taken the step of effectively addressing these problems beyond talking about them. Because this last point is sorely lacking, I must explain further. Based on your study and understanding: If the miseducation of our people is a problem you are concerned about, become a teacher, write books/blogs, create documentaries, afterschool programs, independent schools, or teacher training programs to address the problem. If you feel our people need to create wealth and develop stronger economics, create programs to teach financial literacy/economic empowerment and establish community cooperatives; If you find that our people lack the will or ability to organize, create programs to teach them such skills and information. Never forget: Our enemies don’t just hate or fear us; they don’t just talk about subjugating us; They study our culture movements and habits. They create legislation, form think tanks, lobbying groups, military units, schools/curriculums, and a variety of programs and institutions to fulfill their agenda. We must do the same. Also remember what is at stake – our lives, safety, and freedom. It is not sufficient to say “At least he/she is trying.” this is a lazy and defeatist position for supposedly enlightened and knowledgeable Black folk to adopt. If you are at a restaurant and you contract food poising, would you be satisfied that “at least the cook tried” to use proper sanitation? If you send your child to school and discover that his/her teacher is incompetent, would you take the approach that “at least they tried to teach?” If an attorney represented you in a court case and failed to include important evidence, properly cross-examine witnesses, or represent you well- and you do jail time you didn’t deserve, would you think “At least she tried to represent me?” your likely answer in each scenario, is “Hell No!” You expect quality effort and excellent service because you value yourself! The same is true for we as teachers, organizers activists and leaders. We cannot afford to hold low standards or to embrace mediocrity becaNor can we be too lazy to do the serious study, organizing and institution- building that liberation requires. Always we should work to be more informed, effective, and relevant.
In this spirit, we have created the “Harlem Liberation School.” Our objective is to provide Black community members with the consciousness, information and skills they need to become conscious, competent and committed agents for Black liberation and empowerment.
Beginning on February 8, 2016, we will hold meetings twice a month at no charge to the community for Black folk aged 14 and up. Our meetings will be fun, engaging, and informative. We plan to accomplish this by using group activities, panel discussions, debates, lectures, skits, video clips, etc. We will also implement what we learn via actual community organizing and activism.
If you are Black, live in NYC, and want to learn and do more to uplift Black people, we encourage you to come out. If you are a Black person with serious organizing experience, expertise in African and African American history, youth development, politics, education and journalism/writing, please contact me about volunteering time to lead/moderate workshops, presentations and other activities. If you are a Black vendor selling books or DVDs on Black history, politics, education or culture, contact us about selling your goods at Harlem Liberation School. You can email email@example.com or call 872-222-6764. The time for just talking and complaining is over. Its time to ACT! The following reading lists provide a wealth of information….
Agyei Tyehimba is an educator, activist and author from Harlem, N.Y. Agyei is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. In 2013, he wrote The Blueprint: A BSU Handbook, teaching Black student activists how to organize and lead. In April of 2014, he released Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Currently, Agyei is a member of the Black Power Cypher, five Black Nationalist men with organizing backgrounds, who host a monthly internet show addressing issues and proposing solutions. He runs his own business publishing books, public speaking, and teaching Black people how to organize and fight for empowerment.
Agyei earned his Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from Syracuse University, his Master’s Degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and his Master’s Degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.