By Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
As we begin 2015, millions of people throughout the world will make their annual New Year’s resolutions. But for 42.7 million Black Americans, 2015 hopefully will be a year of socioeconomic, political, cultural and spiritual progress. But achieving these goals will require more than just making a seasonal resolution.
I believe that Black America’s national leadership should immediately convene a summit to devise a “global” action agenda for the next year that will address the economic and political interests of African descendants around the world. The call for a national or international summit devoted to the sons and daughters of Africa is not a new idea. In fact, there have been numerous efforts to present action agendas for Black people in America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and in the Caribbean.
So what will be different this time? First, the “world order” has changed and will continue to change, as we have already seen in the case of Soviet Union and, more recently, Cuba. Consequently, people in Asia and in Africa will continue to exhibit a larger percentage of the world population and this major demographic shift will afford an unprecedented opportunity for new global strategic alliances.
Secondly, global economies that are now growing rapidly in Asia and Africa will provide a tremendous stage for the exchange of stronger business and trade relationships between Africans and other people of color throughout the world. In particular, 2015 can be and should become a time for Black American entrepreneurs and business leaders to secure stronger sustainable economic relationships.
Thirdly, the results of President Barack Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last summer have been encouraging thus far. More than $33 billion has been committed to economic development in Africa through the African Union. President Obama said at time, “Even as the continent faces significant challenges, I believe a new Africa is emerging. With some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, a growing middle class, and the youngest and fastest-growing population on Earth, Africa will help shape the world as never before.”
To help assure this happens, national Black leaders from a broad spectrum of organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), should gather to plan, develop and present a global agenda for equal justice, economic empowerment, youth leadership mentorship, and spiritual revitalization. .
Naturally, the recurring crisis and devastating impact of racially motivated police violence has to be addressed in this setting. But the issue of police brutality and use of deadly police force should be viewed within the larger context of inequity and injustice.
For starters, here is my short list of priority concerns that should be addressed at the summit: Reaffirming and encouraging the emergence of young, committed, gifted and talented youth leaders; rededicating support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); strengthening Black-owned businesses with an emphasis on global economic development; establishing strategic alliances with the African Union; Organizing Black American trade delegations to China, Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil and Indonesia; participating in the planning for the execution of the 2020 U.S. Census; supporting and investing in expansion of Black- owned media; prioritizing legislative and public policy issues; coming to ending poverty; focusing on how we spend $1.3 trillion annually; advancing the cause of freedom, justice and equality and inspiring a moral and spiritual transformation of American society.
Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertisement sales and partnership proposals at: firstname.lastname@example.org; and for lectures and other professional consultations at: http://drbenjaminfchavisjr.wix.com/drbfc.