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Creating Black Community Sustainability


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Creating Black community sustainability (collective economic power) is something that most organizers know is needed and claim to want, but few grassroots groups truly take this task on for obvious reasons, it’s hard. Speeches, conferences, rallies, social media postings and even policy struggles are easier task to engage in, even if they come with their own surmountable challenges. However, very few of our activities set out to create new institutions controlled by black people that generate assets and capital within said community. Sometimes, in the debate over capitalist economics we betray our goals because we think that any endeavor that deals with money soils our pure intentions of changing a system of skewed wealth. This has left most of our organizing efforts underfunded and under resourced.

I am hoping that the “new” work I am involved in with Peace By Piece, a growing collective of young black activists dedicated to being a force for social justice, can be held to the high standard of creating sustainable grassroots institutions in our community as one of its primary goals. Through a recent donation from a philanthropist we have been able to purchase low-cost homes in Baltimore, New Orleans and Atlanta to use as community space for organizing and sustainable development.

It should not be easy to impress a community that has experienced literally centuries of oppression and the many movements, organizations and individuals who wish to free us from said oppression. Historically organizations like Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Nation of Islam and the Panthers have excited the poor and working class in our community partly because of their politics of self-determination and the creation of institutions controlled by organizations working within the community.

We hope also to impress our community and garner an inkling of the support some prior organizations have. We hope the work will be measured by its ability to create cooperative enterprises, green sustainability, survival programs and organizing campaigns on issues of concern for the surrounding community. We feel this work is vital for our community to not only survive but to control institutions and create self-determining lives. Please support.


About Kamau Franklin (93 Articles)
Kamau has been a dedicated community activist and organizer for over twenty years, first in New York City and now based in the south. He has been a leading member of several grassroots organizations dedicated to the ideas of Malcolm X on self-determination. He has organized on various issues including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and creating sustainable urban communities. Kamau has led and developed community cop-watch programs, freedom school programs for youth, large scale community gardens and alternatives to incarceration. He can be followed on twitter @kamaufranklin.

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