James Clingman says that fiery rhetoric, overwhelming applause, and two million “hits” and “tweets” are not enough to get the job done. We must have action.

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By James Clingman (NNPA News Wire Columnist)

Veteran radio talk show host Carl Nelson, will present his third Power Talk event on June 17-19, 2016 at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. The event has featured the likes of Tony Browder, Ashra Kwesi, the late Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing, Pastor Willie Wilson, Dr. Claud Anderson, and Dr. Patricia Newton, among many others. The speakers are called “Power Talkers,” and rightly so because they are most knowledgeable in their particular fields of endeavor. They are unapologetically Black, and they impart their wisdom to a Black audience in an effort to create what I will call, “Power Doers.”

But, no matter who is doing the talking, if there is no subsequent follow through, quite frankly, what’s the point? Do we talk merely so that Black people can have more information, or is it merely to repeat the information we already have? Or is information just a “booster shot,” a reinforcement of sorts to keep us from being so discouraged that we give up on ourselves? If we do not respond appropriately to what we hear, specifically by executing strategies to eliminate some of the problems we discuss at these kinds of events, then we have relegated ourselves to mere cheerleaders for those who share their information with us. We do that so well (“Ase!” “Amen!” “That’s right!” “Teach!” “Tell it!”), but then we leave our haven of knowledge, go back into the real world, and do absolutely nothing except wait for Power Talk Four.

Our events should have legacies that we can celebrate and share when we meet again. We should have victories as a result of thousands of us coming together at an event, especially at a Power Talk event that showcases some of our top brothers and sisters. They are not the run-of-the-mill, milquetoast, talking-head Blacks who earn a great living discussing mundane issues and offering meaningless solutions to Black problems. Not only should we hear their words, we should act upon them.

At this year’s Power Talk Three, last year’s participants should present something tangible that has taken place over the past year as a result of the information and instructions discussed at last year’s event. Doesn’t that make sense? I was one of the Power Talkers last year and have been invited to come back this year; as many of you know, I am also a “doer” even more so than a talker. So, during my speech last year I noted 16 things Black folks can do in response to my words.

I posited that some of our people are waiting for the world to end; some are waiting to be put into FEMA camps; some are waiting for racism to end; some are waiting for reparations; some are waiting for political fairness; some are waiting for equality; some are waiting to be rescued by who knows whom; and some of us are just waiting to be exterminated by the powers-that-be. My question was: “What are we doing while we wait?” As Red said in the movie, Shawshank Redemption, we had better “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’,” thus, I offered the following things to do while we wait:

♦Work to raise our consciousness to a level of “unconscious competency;”
♦Leverage our collective dollars against injustice and inequity by withdrawing them;
♦Use our collective consumer dollars to create conscious Black millionaires;
♦Leverage our collective votes against “politricksters”;
♦Establish more viable, professional, well-managed businesses, and support them;
♦Establish Black owned and controlled trusts, equity funds, revolving loan programs, legal “offense” funds, and endowments;
♦Form strategic alliances and partnerships that can take on larger projects;
♦Scale up our businesses to the point of being able to hire our own people—our own youth;
♦Teach our youth the history of Black business—even before we were brought here;
♦Teach entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking to our young people;
♦Make our demands on politicians from a position of economic strength;
♦Vote as a bloc for those who publicly state and commit in writing their support for our interests;
♦Withhold our votes from anyone and any party that does not support our interests;
♦Hold ourselves accountable for our own freedom;
♦Organize ourselves around practical economic and political solutions that benefit us; and
♦Commit some of our time, talent, and treasure to the uplift of our people,


I will add one more: Join the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors at www.iamoneofthemillion.com.

To the attendees of Power Talk Three, commit to being “Power Doers” when you leave. That way, when it returns next year, we will have much to celebrate. And to the Power Talkers, as my colleague, Amefika Geuka has proposed, commit to joining the Harvest Institute Think Tank, and use your collective talents to help us actually solve our problems.

James E. Clingman is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. His weekly syndicated newspaper column, Blackonomics, is featured in hundreds of newspapers, magazines,...

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