Under the Black Light
After reading a Los Angeles Column titled ” OK, we’ve finally agreed that Black lives matter. Now what?” it is amazing how little growth there has been since 2016. Sure the movement is worldwide but has there been any real movement in steps taken to provide Social, Criminal, Civic, and Economic Justice. The answer is no. Now that the spotlight has been shined on racism in America and throughout the world the movement has plateaued. The question I hear being asked is what’s next for the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Enter Earl L. Harris founder of the Black Wall USA. He has created an organization that approaches injustice and racism in a solutions based methodology. I spoke with him about why Black Wall USA is the evolution of the Black Lives Matters Movement. One of the biggest differences is that the Black Wall USA is not funded by any political parties. It is a self funded organization living off small donors. The Black Wall USA has created a team of professionals with enterprise level experience that looks at injustices and racism as issues that can be solved by creating individual solution strategies. Looking back at the Black Lives Matter Movement as inspiration. They use rallies, marches, and other events to provide a spotlight on the issue that needs correcting. They then proceed to create resolutions and partner with politicians that will pass their resolutions locally. I asked why locally instead of taking the fight to Washington DC. Mr. Harris simply said that is not where the actual change comes from. “Change is always a local concept. To build a beloved community you must build acceptance”. Once local politics change in a state the state laws and policies will follow suit.
The Black Lives Matter Movement is evolving into a Black Wall USA organization. I am looking forward to the Black Wall USA being the solution to the issues of injustice and racism.
Josh Benner wrote a blog on May 2, 2018, entitled “Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Cheap Grace vs. Costly Grace” which is relevant to the Black Lives Matter Movement..to their allies white, brown, yellow, and Indigenous peoples of different political and religious streams of thought.
As a lawyer/pastor/businessman/father and grandfather/HBCU graduate rooted in the black church….very familiar with the music, a gentle rain makes on a tin roof covering a 4 room shack on Charlie Zee’s potato farm, Calverton, Long Island.. all of us need to wrestle with the thought of GOD AND POLITICS. Say it again “GOD AND POLITICS.” Shout it.
In 2008, many of my white evangelical friends lamented that The Anti-Christ had been released in the White House. They cried out to their God day and night for deliverance. Two terms and eight years later, God apparently heard them and raised up a man of their choice. Apparently, the white evangelical prophets were finally correct. God was ushering in chaos in order to bring about Godly order. The unborn had a protector but those already living were on their own, except the very rich…
When will we learn that God is neither white, yellow, brown, yellow, black, Indigenous peoples Republican, Democrat nor Independent? God is big enough to protect the unborn and those born into the families of Appalachia,… Little River, California…Comerio Zona Urbana, Comerio, Puerto Rico…Pine Ridge Indian Reservation …or Calverton, L I.
You see God allows us to pick leaders that reflect who we really are on the inside…not what we show on the outside.. not the one quoting scriptures and praying loudly in public..but what and who we really are when no one is around.
Let us stop dragging God into supporting our limited perspective of who God is…Stop blaming God for our leadership choices.
God is big enough to receive us ALL into the Beloved Community, You see, the Beloved Community Is an inside out not outside in methodology and perspective that produces and manifests in due time different but improving iterations of the image and likeness of God through us.
-by Earl Harris-
Fifty-six years ago you threw caution to the wind and joined hundreds of college students in the invasion of what was perceived to be the heart of the Beast of American racism…Mississippi. But you knew racism intimately having been birthed in a four-room shack down in a hollow., Suffolk County. NY. Your tiny house provided by the bossman, Charlie Zee was a part of your father’s meager pay along with all the potatoes his family could eat. You later realized this was sharecropping northern style. One water pump in the kitchen with a white pee pot in your parent’s room..outhouse 40 yards from the house.. right past the smokehouse where the salted pork hung.
It prepared you for Mississippi. Jesmyn Ward wrote in The Atlantic, “Racism is ‘ Built into the Very Bones’ of Mississippi. But you know from first-hand experience that Racism is Built into the Very Bones of America.
Charles Cobb dropped you off in Hollandale, Mississippi with a black Baptist preacher. He offered housing but only for one night..it was too dangerous. Their houses were far better than that shack you grew up in for the first 7 years of your life…at least they had indoor plumbing..toilets and tubs. Far better than those large washtubs you had used for Saturday night bathing.
The very next day you started knocking on those wooden screen doors ….asking for a cool glass of water…telling them why a Freedom Fighter was among them. You were taught by SNCC to dress like a southern colored farmboy… to fit in..say “yes mam’ and “no sir”.. be very polite… go to church on Sunday because no matter what people did Monday through Saturday, everybody went to church Sunday. You were in the Bible Belt.
The black people taught you how to survive..which blacks not to trust… Some pointed out the man who was said to have promised to invite you to dinner and poison your food. They protected you.. even when you drank some white lightning. An older man told you that as a leader you should not do that. and you never did again. They treated you like a son..a member of the family.
You were accepted into the Beloved Community. They shared their very best food,..fried okra, fried apples, and fried pork chops. They shared their homes..some even slept on the floor so that you would have the comfort of a bed. They gave of themselves…from the heart. They were your Beloved Community.
The Beloved Community Is rooted in welcoming acceptance. Hollandale gladly acknowledged you though they knew nothing about you. They loved you unconditionally giving you the best they had knowing you would leave when the summer of ’64 ended.
The Beloved Community is available in the heart of each of us. It’s our choice each moment of the day.
-by Earl Harris-