Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Louisville's Black Agenda

"Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people"
                                                     Marcus Garvey

This weekend I watched parts of MSNBC's  'A Stronger America: The Black Agenda' and I started to think to myself what is Louisville's black agenda? Do we have one, and if we do what is it? As far as I can tell we don't. What we have in Urban Louisville is chance and hope.  

There is chance that when the Louisville economy turns around that it will also lift black Louisville. There is a chance the state government will increase its investment in the states urban areas and thereby increase investment in black Louisville. 

We hope crime will decrease and educational attainment increase when he pass an ordinance making youth pull their pants up.  We hope that getting a new school superintended will spur academic achievement in our youth.

That's what we have in Louisville. Chance and hope. We need more than that. Our people are suffering and yet there is no relief in sight. The good news is that we have been here before and we found our way out. We decided as a people in the early 1900's that we would improve our lot in life and we did it. We built very prosperous business districts, we built our own schools, libraries, civic institutions. Urban Louisville was even on the vanguard of the national Civil Rights Movement. We gave the NAACP it's first ever victory in front of the supreme court and thereby the foundation of Brown v. The Board of Education. Several of the national leaders of the NAACP and the Urban League came from Louisville. If we did it once we can do it again.  

The only way we can right the ship is to develop a plan. We need an agenda that not only outlines what we want to achieve, but how we are going to achieve it. It has to address everything from education to zoning laws. It has to be a living breathing document or documents that can change with the times. The agenda has to come from a bottom up perspective. We have to focus on those that have been left behind and include them in the conversation. Finally, we have to create financially independent institutions that can push the agenda forward. I think there are enough motivated and bright people in Louisville that we can make it a reality. The question is will we?

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