Friday, November 10, 2006
Black Conservatives MUST Have A Plan by Akindele Akinyemi
I have been getting calls and e-mails across the country about where the Black Republicans went wrong.
The answer is very simple. No plan and no agenda.
Even though we were caught in the tidal wave of Democratic rebellion on Tuesday there is no reason why Michael Steele could not win a seat in the U.S. Senate in Maryland. Black people did him in from Prince George County, MD.
However, back in Michigan, we did not get Dick DeVos in because of fear and intimidation from the Democratic Party.
That's all right. This is politics.
Our Black Conservative forces must HAVE a strategic plan THAT is going to benefit our people regionally. Why regionally? Because Black people now live in the REGION and not just DETROIT.
Take a look at OUR region here in Southeastern Michigan. Black people are no longer living in just Detroit and Wayne County. We are part of a 10 county constellation. That constellation includes Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, Washtenaw, Monroe, Livingston, Genesee, St. Clair and Essex County, Ontario. Our people live in these counties and must be represented.
The same in Benton Harbor. It's time for Black conservatives out there to look into a regional network. They have to forge into a 10 county constellation in Western Michigan. This includes Berrien, Van Buren, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Calhoun, Allegan, Ottawa, Kent and Muskegon Counties. There are Black people who are conservative living in these areas and yet, have no outlet and no connection to other conservatives.
BOTH of these constellations must convene and agree on issues that we can take into the heart of our urban communities respectively. One issue in Benton Harbor that is troubling people is the inept City Council, city manager and Mayor. Another is the School Board. Perhaps Black conservatives in Benton Harbor might want to look into designing and setting up a Educational Empowerment Zone where a management company might want to run the actual curriculum and instruction of the Benton Harbor Public Schools while a new reformed school board would like to authorize charters in the district.
All of these networks on BOTH sides of the state should be moving towards lifting the cap off charter schools. That should be a STATEWIDE initiative with Black Conservatives in the State of Michigan.
Regionalizing and consolidation are key issues for Black Conservatives in the near future. Land Banks should also be put on the table in key urban communities. Genesee County and Wayne County have already agreed to Land Banks but not the City of Detroit. It's time to revitalize our communities.
When I look at depressed communites like Inkster, Benton Harbor, River Rouge and Ecorse where a majority of our people live I often ask myself this question. Where are the conservatives at? And how come we do not have representation on these school boards or RESA/ISD boards? We must begin to push for representation in these smaller communities to gain greater power. Control of the school boards is control of the educational process. This includes educational options. We can move our educational system in these smaller communities into a 21st century reality if we change the curriculum, direction and implement strict academic policies to create discipline for our children and parents. Then businessess can begin to help re-populate our urban commnunities. We can do this if we have a plan and an agenda that works.
Another deficit with this Black Conservative Network is the lack of communication. I do not understand why successful Black businessmen and women cannot utilize their natural resources to have companies, corporations, etc. to SPONSOR a 1 hour radio show dealing with real critical issues in our urban communities. In Detroit alone we were running a HUGE deficit in terms of balancing the debate on the airwaves between Jennifer Granholm and Dick DeVos. We must get into a habit of writing editorials, letters to the editor and blogging to state our point of view. Where is our public access programming to educate our people on the issues? Educating people on our position is 365 days out of a year NOT during election season.
The other part of communication was the fact that everyone was doing their own thing when we should have had each other's back. There is no reason why Todd White should have lost to Jim Nash in the Oakland County Commission race in Farmington Hills when there is a good percentage of Blacks living on the EAST side of Farmington Hills. White is a Black Republican but people voted for Jim Nash because OUR people did not step up. The same goes for Keith Butler.
The other thing we have to realize is that there are Black Conservatives ON THE DEMOCRATIC side as well. In Michigan, we have to now sit down and TRAIN them on OUR position on education and regionalization. We should be preparing to do this by the first of the year. We made some inroads and even found people who have been hiding in the closet for a long time. Let's build upon that momentum.
Keep your heads up Black Conservatives. We might have lost this round and our minds but we did not forefit our souls. There is a Detroit School Board race coming up next year. Start planning to place people in the race and WE must start training them on the issues that are prevalent to conservative education.
We have to create a not just a One Detroit Network but a ONE Network to connect us coast to coast statewide.
To be continued......