Saturday, October 15, 2005

Millions More Movement: The Invisible Speech

An excerpt from Keith Boykin's post from earlier today:

After eight months of discussion, four productive conversations with Minister Farrakhan and a heated exchange with Rev. Willie Wilson, the Millions More Movement March took place today and I was not allowed to speak... After I arrived at the VIP tent shortly after 8 in the morning, my colleague Donna Payne spoke directly to Rev. Willie Wilson backstage, and he informed her that no one from the National Black Justice Coalition would be speaking today. Donna told Rev. Wilson that he was violating our agreement, and Wilson replied that the agreement was void because the Coalition had not responded by Friday. That was not true... Rev. Wilson's excuse seemed a mere pretext to prevent us from speaking. Sadly, I am not surprised. He has been an obstacle to this process all along. Ever since his controversial July 3 sermon in which he blamed the rise of lesbianism for the problems in the black community, Rev. Wilson seems to have developed ill feelings toward the black gay community for responding to his attack. That was three months ago, and I had hoped to use my speech today to extend an olive branch to Rev. Wilson to move beyond our differences and heal our wounds, but his actions this morning made that impossible.

Read more here, including the speech that Keith prepared but was not able to deliver.

1 comment:

Anonymous said... recently posted (Oct 12):

As I prepare for a civil service exam scheduled for October 18, 2005, I struggle with a desire to travel to Washington, D.C. for the Millions More Movement activities, rather than voyaging half way across Pennsylvania to take another test.

Do I really want to take this exam and attempt to get on another civil service list?

Since 2003, I have participated and completed the State Civil Service process more than a dozen times. In fact, I have tested within the “Rule of Three” mandate (State must hire from within the top three), but they have yet to call me for an interview.

The Civil Service Commission has tactically explained their hiring practice, i.e., Pennsylvania agencies often “opt out” and instead use a little known exception to the process (management directive that grants an unfettered discretion) that allows them to ignore the employment list and promote almost any available lower classification (a current employee).

The Commonwealth’s excuse for not hiring me is no different than the excuse a local temporary employment agency (Robert Half International) recently provided. That is, despite the fact that I scored a perfect 100 percent on their required testing (the average score for everyone else is only 85 percent), and was given an almost perfect score for my interview, the employment agency has insisted since August 2004 that it can’t place me. And, the Pittsburgh EEOC district office, a federal regulatory agency with authority to enforce Title VII has suggested that there appears to be nothing wrong with the company’s reason for not placing me: Robert Half claims its clients continue to select (whites) other candidates who have tested well below my scores and have inferior work experience and there is nothing they can do about it.

Nonetheless, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (Nation of Islam) has challenged all of us to rise above the things that have kept us divided in the past. The agenda of his Millions More Movement is to see how all of us, with all our varied differences, can come together and direct our energy, not at each other, but at the condition of the reality of the suffering of our people. He has directed us to use all of our skills, gifts and talents to create a better world for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the like. True That (word is bond)!

I really want to participate and get my swerve on (enter the conflict of eliminating poverty and injustice in American society). But, this year, I have to tend to my family’s needs. That is, they have cut off all of my utilities, placed tax liens on my property, and have us struggling on food stamps. But, I am a proud “functionally unemployed” black man, flexed, and bout it (real, not fake and true to the game).

No! I’m not going to make it to Washington, D.C. for the Millions More Movement Activities. I have to take the civil service exam. . . . I have to score within the top three to force the white man to get creative again.

The Honorable Minister hopes to help poor people learn how to help themselves, beginning with the knowledge that there is strength in numbers. I may not be there on October 16, 2005, in person, but as a black man tight (straight, legitimate and feeling really good at the moment) and on his hustle (taking care of my family), I’m already there in sprit.

If I could go to the Millions More Movement activities, I would hope to hear about the marked change of October 2005, from the last two political cycles when President George Bush (Karl Rove) used the power of the White house to coax first-tier candidates into important congressional races. In these crucial few months when candidates are entering races, raising money and recruiting staffs, republican hopefuls are quietly stepping off. There’s one obvious reason why republican hopefuls aren’t listening to the White House: Bush is an unpopular president.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Bush won the admiration of most Americans (even some blacks) for resolute leadership in the face of a foreign threat. But, after the recent simpleton response to hurricane Katrina and his tone-deaf reaction to the needs of America’s poor, the GOP and the world now well understand that Bush has slipped into a hole and unfortunately it appears the HNIC won’t be climbing back out. That is, his message remains essentially hopeless worries and hopeful faith. He’s back again portraying the world as too treacherous, too dangerous, and too risky for anyone but the GOP. Karl Rove wants to keep America focused on terror and national security. And, then they went public with wacked (crazy stupid) information suggesting possible subway attacks in New York (a city on orange alert the second-highest-level-indicating a high risk of terror attack since the color-coded warning system was established after the September 11, 2002 attacks). Bush backed the decision to announce the threat publicly despite questions by most federal officials about its credibility. They even claimed the source of the threat had passed a polygraph test. In short, like always, the GOP knew America can’t second-guess the motive behind a terror alert.

If I could go to the Millions More Movement activities, I would hope to hear about black GOP conservatives who have gone out their way in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina to play the race and irresponsibility card hoping to cultivate the most reactionary forms of Christian fundamentalism alongside the extreme right for whom racism is an essential ideological component. Just yesterday black GOP conservatives gathered to discuss race and irresponsibility. BOND (The Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny) and the Heritage Foundation cosponsored the event: The New Black Vanguard Conference II. It was moderated by Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Founder and President of BOND. Dr. Shelby Steele (Hoover Institution Senior Fellow), Joseph Phillips (Actor & Columnist), Linda Porter (Founder Jochbed Education Project), and La Shawn Barber ( attempted to reflect upon policy questions they claimed of major significance to black communities.

In the course of a denunciation of current black leadership they enumerated some of the standard racist conceptions often voiced by the right wing: The view that welfare programs had created among blacks a culture of irresponsibility; there is an enormous cost for risky behavior within the black family (promiscuous women and fatherless households); and, one generation of blacks has followed another into poverty.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson has suggested in the past that America shouldn’t blame racism or President Bush and the GOP for what happened to thousands of poor blacks during and after hurricane Katrina. He said “The truth is black people died, not because of President Bush or racism, they died because of their unhealthy dependence on the government and the incompetence of Mayor Ray Nagin (a black man) and Governor Kathleen Blanco.” The black GOP conservative singled out Rev. Jesse Jackson, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rapper Kanye West, all of whom he says blamed President Bush for not doing enough to help black people.

Yes! Rev. Jesse Jackson is on the record calling the president’s response “incompetent.”

Yes! During NBC’s celebrity telethon for hurricane Katrine victims on September 2, 2005, the scripted program took an unexpected turn, when Rapper Kanye West went off the script during the live broadcast, declaring “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

But, black GOP conservatives are nothing but house slaves. They blindly follow simple-minded people. In slavery days we had house slaves and field slaves. The house slaves were “well behaved” and “rewarded” by being allowed to work in the “big house” close to the master. The field slaves were “rough” and “functionally unemployed.” Thus the people were divided and pitted against themselves, instead the common enemy (extreme right forces and Christian fundamentalists).

If I could go to the Millions More Movement activities, I would hope to hear about how da fam in the Burgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) can get rid of some punk ass black politicians that are indifferent to the plight of "functionally unemployed" individuals and their families. The last time da fam in the Burgh had oportunity to "break bread" with a bout it black leader was August 19, 1997. On that particular day the Honorable Minister accepted my question (from the audience) related to how black males can be a better father to their children. Among other things, he eloquently advised the group of black politicians on how we can come together and direct our energy, not at each other, but at the condition of the reality of the suffering or our people. But it's October 2005, conditions for blacks in the Burgh have become more precarious. The city is now controled by (in the closet) black GOP conservative house slaves.

No Diggety!