“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to grow in a safe and healthy environment.
Organizations featured in this section are offering scholarships, internships and job openings to help sustain the Village.
In her 2018 book How Change Happens: Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don’t, Leslie R. Crutchfield summarized some of social movements’ success factors as follows: “A movement’s grassroots are its everyday people, the ‘rank and file,’ in contrast to the leaders or the ‘elite’ (p.25). “Winning movements are fueled by energy that materializes from the bottom up” (p. 12). “As we examined a range of social and environmental movements surging since the 1980s, it became irrefutably clear that those with strong and robust grassroots—measured by both size and intensity of the base—win” (p. 23). There is support for the foregoing conclusions when one considers the Civil Rights Movement.
Notwithstanding the litany of famous 1960s civil rights leaders, legal segregation fell when grassroots people  marched as if they were marching around the ancient city of Jericho;  risked their lives by “sitting in” at segregated facilities;  boycotted buses and businesses;  engaged in the late 1960s urban rebellions after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and, in turn, enabled civil rights leaders to negotiate with the “powers that be.” In addition, we should never forget the following examples of grassroots’ enablement:
A personal example will amplify the significance of grassroots/leader relationships. In 1969, I became the first Chair of the Black (now Africana) Studies Department at Pitt. Having been part of the Pitt grassroots Black student/community movement, I knew in no uncertain terms that my primary mission was to  get Pitt to hire faculty members who would advance scholarship, teaching and service related to the Black Diaspora;  academically advise Black students; and  do all I could 24/7 to advance the causes of Black grassroots folks through the use of Pitt resources. As a Department Chair, the grassroots empowered me to “speak truth to power,” to in no way “go along to get along.”
My hiring, based on grassroots demands, was significantly different from a hypothetical person who might be hired in 2023 with a portfolio such as “Vice Chancellor for Food Services.” The “Vice Chancellor for Food Services” could be hired by the “powers that be” to make the College’s food services cost effective and, at the same time, provide high quality food for the students housed in the College’s dormitories.
Although the College CEO, like others during times of crises such as the murder of George Floyd, publicly pronounced support for diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice, the “Vice Chancellor for Food Services” might not have a grassroots’ mandate emanating from the descendants of Africans enslaved in America. As such, the Vice Chancellor would be doing her/his job, for example, if none of the contracted vendors turned out to be Black owned and operated, but it turned out that the major contracted firm was “diverse,” i.e., headed by two women, one White and the other Hispanic.
During 2023 and beyond, the struggle related to descendants of Africans enslaved in America as well as other equity and social justice movements could become stifled by a few spectacular, “first” hires of “diverse” senior level people who are not anchored by grassroots but, rather, owe their allegiance strictly to the senior administrators who hired them. Moreover, even when a member of the Black race is hired as well as anyone else, what matters most comes down to their values, beliefs, commitments, character, experience, etc. emanating from as well as the extent to which they are empowered by the grassroots. Indeed, unless steps are taken to prevent grassroots disconnects as evidenced by the following story, a much larger danger looms for equity and social justice movements.
For centuries, the Forest Village kept shrinking because of the Patriarchal Company’s (PC) wanton deforestation. However, the trees kept supporting the PC which gaslighted them into believing that it was “inclusive” as evidenced by the PC planting a token number of new trees. However, one day for mere campfire wood, several PC workers chopped down an almost 1000-year-old Bristlecone type of pine tree. This total disregard for the Forest Village’s elder prompted a few woke trees to begin a “trees lives matter” movement.
After the PC’s CEO made diversity and inclusion speeches; appointed a new Deputy CEO for Tree Preservation; and planted a few saplings, for a year the PC did not cut any trees. Members of the Forest Village were lulled into complacency until one day several young Forest Village guards saw what would surely contribute to their community’s complete demise. A PC worker was approaching with an axe blade made from a substance similar to Wakanda’s Vibranium. As the young trees cried hysterically upon seeing the blade’s effectiveness, one of the Forest Village elders said with great sadness, “Look at that handle the PC worker is using. She/he used to be one of us! Let there be no new axe handles in 2023!”
Within weeks, “trees lives matter” became a powerful grassroots movement. During the last negotiation with the PC administration, it was agreed that the PC would implement a Comprehensive Green Policy to be implemented by the Tree Owned and Operated Sustainability Company. Two years later, guided by the philosophy of Ujamaa (collective economics), the PC was purchased by the Tree Owned and Operated Sustainability Company!
Jack L. Daniel
Co-founder, Freed Panther Society
Contributor, Pittsburgh Urban Media
Author, Negotiating a Historically White University While Black
December 23, 2022
The Pittsburgh Scholar House is launching the Wayfinders Program, an innovative approach to connecting highly motivated single parents to transformative post-secondary educational opportunities in the region. Set to run from January to June 2023, the Wayfinders Program will create an inclusive community of scholastic support for parents seeking a better quality of life for themselves and their children. Participants who successfully enroll into a degree program at the end of the six-month engagement period will be supported with potential scholarship opportunities, academic coaching, professional mentorship, transportation and childcare access, and other supports designed to cultivate social capital and foster economic mobility through the successful completion of their degree program. The application opens October 25, 2022, and is accepting applicants through Friday, November 18, 2022. A virtual information session will be hosted on Thursday, October 27th from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
The Pittsburgh Scholar House is a local nonprofit dedicated to building a scholastic community of single parent college students interested in earning two-year and four-year degrees to disrupt the poverty cycle, and create a cycle of generational prosperity, while fostering high quality early learning outcomes for their children. This two-generational (2GEN) approach is designed to create empowered partnerships with highly motivated, single parents facing economic insecurity as they seek increased levels of post-secondary educational attainment, early learning access, and social capital cultivation to ignite economic mobility and garner a better quality of life for themselves and their children.
“The Pittsburgh Scholar House is committed to increasing access to high-quality, affordable post-secondary education opportunities for single parent families in the region. The Wayfinders program will provide structural support and motivation to help current and prospective college students with parenting responsibilities achieve their highest aspirations while caring for their children,” said Dr. Diamonte Walker, CEO of Pittsburgh Scholar House. “We view this as a mutually accountable partnership where families are set firmly in the driver seat to reshape their economic destinies from one generation to the next.”
The organization is working with partners across the higher education, early learning, community and economic development, banking, healthcare, human services, corporate industry, and philanthropic sectors to replicate the outcomes of the Pittsburgh Scholar House’s parent organization, Family Scholar House in Louisville, Kentucky. This innovative approach creates a well-coordinated community of practice to achieve collective impact with the aspirations and needs of parenting students at the forefront. These collaborative efforts are designed to empower families as they seek to build the social, economic, and educational pedigree necessary to achieve greater levels of economic security.
The Pittsburgh Scholar House is seeking to recruit 20 families into its first Wayfinders cohort slated to begin in January 2023. The curriculum will focus on providing parenting scholars with economic empowerment, two-generational family engagement, early learning outcomes for their children, and standards of academic excellence as they pursue a degree. Cohort participants are provided with the guidance and support needed to enroll in a two or four-year degree program, finish a degree program in which they are currently enrolled, or receive specialized workforce training for in-demand job skills. The program is available to participants at no cost.
“It is critically important that we improve access to higher education and remove barriers to degree completion for parenting students,” stated Karina Chavez, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education and Pittsburgh Scholar House Board Member. Chavez added, “PCHE is proud to partner with the Pittsburgh Scholar House to create holistic economic and social outcomes for families striving for a brighter tomorrow”.
The Pittsburgh Scholar House is supported by all 11 colleges and universities that make up the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) and funding partners at The Heinz Endowments, Henry L. Hillman Foundation, and PNC Foundation.
Dr. Diamonte Walker, CEO of Pittsburgh Scholar House
While Seton Hill University Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Tricia Shelton recently received the Black Excellence in Education Lifetime Achievement Award from the State of Black Learning, she won’t be leaving education anytime soon.
"I feel so affirmed,” said Shelton, who also serves as Director of Field Placement for Seton Hill’s School of Education. “I try really hard in my classroom to make every student – whether they are a first grader or a freshman – feel that they are seen and heard. It’s a lifetime achievement award, but I’m not done yet so it has reignited my passion to work to effect change in education.”
Shelton, who received the award on August 12 as part of the State of Black Learning Conference in Pittsburgh, has spent 25 years teaching at the elementary and collegiate level. The honor was awarded by State of Black Learning, an organization designed to increase educator effectiveness and provide the tools necessary to help address all of the factors that improve student outcomes and help Black children learn in the greater Pittsburgh region.
“Tricia Shelton is an outstanding educator who skillfully imparts the knowledge and experience she has gained in 25 years in the classroom on future generations of teachers,” said Seton Hill University Provost Susan Yochum, SC, Ph.D. “She is so very deserving of the Black Excellence in Education Lifetime Achievement Award, and all of us at Seton Hill congratulate her on this accomplishment.”
“An innovative educator in the classroom, Tricia Shelton has also served the Seton Hill community in variety of institutional capacities, including as a co-chair of the Eva Fleischner Truth Finding Committee,” said Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. “Tricia has been engaged in important work to help faculty develop curriculum and programming that ensure students engage in rigorous analysis and transparent dialogue across the curriculum so that they may be better informed citizens.”
Shelton, of Monroeville, Pa., said she knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age.
“My mother was a teacher and her mother was a teacher, so I am in the family business,” Shelton said. “Education has always had a tremendous value in our family.”
Shelton spent a lot of time during her childhood in her mother’s classroom, and “fell in love with the ability to be able to help and be in service to others.”
Early in her career, Shelton taught in her actual third grade elementary classroom at Evergreen Elementary in the Gateway School District with her third grade teacher as her mentor.
“I always feel really blessed to have so many people in my career who have supported me,” she said.
Shelton spent 18 years at Gateway as a first grade teacher and elementary administrator before moving on to higher education. She taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for five years before joining the faculty of Seton Hill in 2020.
“I always felt a passion and a calling to be in higher education,” Shelton said. “I wanted to have an impact on the teaching and learning philosophies of preservice teachers. I also wanted young people going into the field to realize it’s really challenging work. You have to have a strong sense of resiliency, and I work to help them build that resiliency.”
At Seton Hill, Shelton teaches first year education courses and also works directly with student teachers.
“I get a chance to see students when they first get here and when they leave and see the growth in real time,” she said. “I believe Seton Hill students have such a wonderful sense of purpose. The students I work with are always very vested in their understanding of why they want to be a teacher.”
And Shelton remains a resource to her students after they graduate and start leading their own classrooms.
“I really feel like no teacher should feel like an independent contractor – it’s about building relationships,” she said. “We’re all in this together.”
Source: Seton Hill University
The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and The Pittsburgh Foundation have partnered to encourage donors and the general public to support United Way International’s response to the humanitarian crisis that is now facing the people of Ukraine.
You may donate through the local campaign portal #PghUnitedForUkraine:
Funds will support organizations with expertise in humanitarian relief efforts, including: United Way Romania. United Way Hungary. Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw (Good Initiatives Foundation) in Poland. No fees will be charged for donations, although there may be some administrative costs for nonprofit organizations delivering aid in the affected countries. For Pittsburgh Foundation fundholders: If you are a Pittsburgh Foundation fundholder and wish to give through your advised fund, please contact your donor services representative or login to the donor portal and recommend a grant (include "Ukraine" in comments field).
More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine, a number expected to rise to 4 million before the conflict is over. With your help, we can support those displaced by the violence, providing life-saving relief. The immediate neighboring countries, Poland, Romania and Hungary, are expecting the biggest waves of people escaping the violence. The conflict is devastating for Ukrainians, whose lives have been upended and whose future is uncertain. In accordance with our mission of mobilizing the caring power of communities for the common good, United Way is launching the United for Ukraine Fund in response to this urgent and growing humanitarian crisis. The immediate support will cover: Transportation Shelter Food and medicines Critical childcare supplies, including infant formula and diapers Hygiene kits, and more This situation is fluid and there is no doubt the needs will be great and will continue for some time. Funds will be used to support our partners on the ground, United Way Hungary, United Way Romania and FDI Poland. As the crisis evolves, United Way may identify additional partners on the ground to support the needs of Ukraine's displaced.
More Information: https://give.unitedwayswpa.org/comm/SinglePageRegPledge.jsp?EnvelopeKeyHex=2A5441403E46523173507E3E&DA=18169656
It looks like COVID-19 may be with us for a while. So, let’s keep doing the simple things to slow the spread. Explore this site to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself, your family, business, neighbors, and community from COVID.
The Northside Community Development Fund today announced that it is now supporting all of Allegheny County under the new moniker of “Neighborhood Community Development Fund.”
Located in Pittsburgh’s Northside, the Neighborhood Community Development Fund serves as a conduit between local communities and the resources they seek – growing and revitalizing neighborhoods through small business support, residential housing and commercial building projects. Previously, this work was concentrated primarily in the Northside neighborhood.
Under its new name, the Neighborhood Community Development Fund will continue to support existing clients, while also aiding those in neighborhoods beyond the Northside and throughout Allegheny County to develop their communities. The organization conducts its work by connecting local business owners and community development organizations with loan opportunities, grant applications, educational resources and strategic counsel.
“We’ve been proud to work as a trusted neighbor for so many in the Northside community for more than 20 years,” said Mark Masterson, executive director, Neighborhood Community Development Fund. “And now, we’re taking that same approach to communities all across Allegheny County to promote economic opportunity and revitalization.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Neighborhood Community Development Fund has offered loan payment deferrals and loan forgiveness to most of its loan customers. The Neighborhood Community Development Fund also worked with the Pennsylvania CDFI Network to distribute more than $250 million in grants to small businesses, 50% of which went to historically disadvantaged businesses.
Additionally, the Neighborhood Community Development Fund connected local small businesses with Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program loans – helping more than 400 small businesses to receive these SBA loans.
For more information on the Neighborhood Community Development Fund and its services, please visit: NCD-Fund.org.
The centers will provide technology access and digital literacy to community members of all ages.
Neighborhood Allies and Verizon officially announce three new Pittsburgh-based learning centers to come online in the next year. These will provide community members of all ages with digital skills and entrepreneurship training, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities through advanced technology and educational resources.
Neighborhood Allies is excited to collaborate with the YMCA and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)’s Homewood-Brushton Center locations, who will host a youth and adult space respectively. The location of a third site in a different part of Pittsburgh will be determined in the coming months. These are part of the Verizon Community Forward initiative, first announced earlier this month, which offers exploratory digital learning opportunities for STEM related career pathways with a focus on job skills.
The program will provide K-12 students with STEM Education, adults with digital literacy training, and both high school students and adults with workforce development and entrepreneurship learning opportunities. Programming will be provided by the Homewood Children's Village, YMCA, and CCAC, as well as other local providers. In anticipation of the Centers’ opening, registration is open for interim Fall programming at LevelUp412.org, which features courses ranging from coding and video game design to robotics, 3D printing, and a host of digital literacy skills.
"Neighborhood Allies' commitment to advancing equity and economic inclusion in Pittsburgh means ensuring that all residents have expanded opportunities to succeed," said Presley Gillespie, President of Neighborhood Allies. "In partnership with Verizon, we are striving to close the digital divide that exists along socioeconomic and racial lines by providing the access, knowledge, and training needed to enter into tech-based careers."
"Now more than ever, it's imperative that under-resourced communities have the skills and access to technology they need to be prepared for today's digital workforce,” said Alex Servello, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility. “Together with Neighborhood Allies, Verizon is deepening its investment in the local community by creating physical spaces which offer members of the community access to STEM education, workforce development, and digital literacy with the goal to help prepare youth up to adults for jobs of the future.”
STEM-inspired skill-based learning through initiatives such as Verizon Community Forward can drive economic empowerment and is central to Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement, Citizen Verizon. Launched in 2020 to move the world forward for all, Citizen Verizon leverages technology, innovation and resources to address the world’s most pressing issues across digital inclusion, climate protection and human prosperity. As part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon plans to exceed $3 billion in its responsible business investment from 2020-2025 to continue helping vulnerable communities bridge the digital divide.
June 22, 2021… A new arts funding initiative created by The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy will award 75 micro-grants of $1,000 to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) artists to assist them in their work. Applications are open through July 23. Funding for the program is provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Mac Miller Fund.
Grants will be practice-based, so that recipients have the freedom to use the awards on whatever they choose. The program is open to artists who live in the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Mercer, Lawrence, Somerset, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland.
“This program is yet another wonderful example of how the fund is channeling Mac Miller’s spirit in the Pittsburgh region and the rest of the country,” Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder said in announcing the grants program. “As his fame skyrocketed, he shared his musical artistry generously – allowing people to internalize it however they would choose, and he reached out broadly.”
The BIPOC Micro-Grant Program does the same, Schroeder said, by giving artists maximum freedom in use of the grants and inviting applications from across southwestern Pennsylvania and its bordering counties. “While there is much more work to be done in supporting racial diversity in our region’s arts community, we are grateful to the family of Mac Miller and our Center for Philanthropy staff for collaborating to develop such a powerful program.”
A selection committee that will include BIPOC artists will be confirmed soon with member information posted on The Pittsburgh Foundation website. The brief application is available online and applicants will be informed of decisions by Sept. 1.
“The BIPOC Artist Micro-Grant program is a way for the Foundation to carry forward Mac Miller’s creative and artistic legacy and his family’s vision for helping artists, particularly younger artists, recognize their full potential,” said Kelly Uranker, vice president of the Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy.
The Mac Miller Fund was established at The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2018 by the family of the late Malcolm McCormick (Mac Miller) to honor the Pittsburgh native and nationally known rapper and producer.
The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy is one of only a few centers in the country offering expertise to donors to help them determine how to meet philanthropic goals through grantmaking and nonprofit management, personalized education sessions and guidance on multi-generational giving.
Source: The Pittsburgh Foundation
In her job, Pittsburgh native Simone, is dedicated to helping young people succeed in school as an integrated school specialist, making sure students who might not be making the grade have the necessary tools to excel academically. She is also a dedicated mom of a teen son, who keeps her busy but thankful.
Reflecting on her life, Simone says that she is especially grateful for the two blood transfusions she received that literally saved her life. "I was Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia (SC) Disease. Born with the disease, and diagnosed at 15 months old. I spent a lot of my childhood in and out of hospitals, in severe pain and depleted of energy due to low blood counts. Individuals with Sickle Cell often rely on transfusions to reduce anemia, increase blood flow, and decrease/eliminate excruciating pain. Blood transfusions can also help Sickle Cell patients reduce the risk of a stroke. The blood transfusions that I received helped alleviate crippling pain and prevent other complications that could have taken my life."
Knowing the critical need for blood donations in the African American community, Simone is hoping that her story will encourage other's to donate. "In the black community one in 500-600 black children are born with sickle cell anemia. As with most illnesses that affect blacks disproportionally, research for a cure is grossly under funded. Donating blood helps to ensure that we have as high of a quality of life as possible. It’s imperative that we do our part to save ourselves."
One way you can make a difference here in Pittsburgh, Simone, encourages you to participate in the WAMO VIRTUAL BLOOD DRIVE - Saturday, April 24, 2021 - Friday April 30, 2021.
See information below for the event.
Donate Blood At Vitalant - Schedule An Appointment Online
Donating Blood Is One Of The Easiest Ways To Give Back To Your Community — Donate Today! We'll Guide You Through Every Step And Answer Any Questions! Find A Donation Center Today. Saving Lives. Schedule Online Today. COVID Rescue Team
The City of Pittsburgh’s Welcoming Pittsburgh has announced the release of their 2020 Annual Report today, highlighting their work and accomplishments from the past year. Welcoming Pittsburgh is an immigrant, refugee, new American, and asylee support and integration initiative launched by Mayor William Peduto in 2014.
The annual report highlights new initiatives undertaken by Welcoming Pittsburgh and their partners. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Welcoming Pittsburgh introduced a regular, open call with the community to share information, resources, and meet the communities’ needs. Other new initiatives in the report include the implementation of a citywide language access plan, a COVID-19 cash assistance program for those who did not receive federal stimulus due to their immigration status, and their participation with the Urban Redevelopment Authority in the Welcoming Economies Pilot program.
“Though 2020 presented our world with challenges and oftentimes stretched our partners and resources beyond their capacity, we saw impressive resilience, adaptability, and helpfulness from our Welcoming Pittsburgh team and community," said Mayor William Peduto.
The report also provides progress updates for the implementation of the Welcoming Pittsburgh Roadmap. The roadmap was launched in 2015 in partnership with 40 local leaders in immigrant, refugee, and international communities and over 3,000 community members to provide a community-defined vision and recommended action items to make Pittsburgh welcoming for all. The report includes how roadmap action items are being implemented throughout city departments such as the Department of Innovation and Performance, Department of City Planning, and Department of Public Safety.
The report is available here.
For Sustainable Pittsburgh’s statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit this link. Plus, access our library of free webinars and accompanying resources here.
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Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Typically, generational wealth refers to material things of significance passed on from one generation to the next. This type of generational wealth provides succeeding family members with a foundation that enables them to avoid “starting from scratch” or having to “lift themselves up by their bootstraps.” Instead, these generational wealth recipients are provided a “head start” that enables them to not only cope with acquiring basic necessities such as food, shelter and health care but also to actualize themselves as human beings.
Imagine the privileged position you would be in if, for example, your parents made it possible for you to graduate from college not only free of debt but they also gave you a new car as a graduation gift. Consider the economic advantage you would have if you also enjoyed the number one American wealth generation act, i.e., you inherited a mortgage-free multi-bedroom home.
Unfortunately, the well-known fact is that the foregoing type of generational wealth is one of the key disparities many Blacks experience as a result of systemic racism. As noted on September 28, 2020 by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “…the typical White family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family… In the 2019 survey, White families have the highest level of both median and mean family wealth: $188,200 and $983,400, respectively… Black families' median and mean wealth is less than 15 percent that of White families, at $24,100 and $142,500, respectively…”
To be sure, living in a capitalistic society, Blacks must not only understand but also practice the rudiments of the American/international financial system. At the same time, we must not forget that, as the “passport for the 21st century,” education and the wisdom related to its use are critically important types of generational wealth. Otherwise, the material aspects of generational wealth become a matter of “easy come, easy go.” For an example of the latter, we need look no further than a current national leader who received hundreds of millions from his father and, today, he has debt in the hundreds of millions! Lest Blacks are appropriately educated, they might not only lose ground in terms of material wealth, but also their pursuit of equity and social justice.
We must heed the wisdom articulated by Carter G. Woodson when he wrote, “If you can control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”
A Black person, for example, could sit on the Supreme Court for years, but if she/he is miseducated, then that person might attack laws designed to assist Blacks as well as members of other oppressed groups. It will be they who will lead the attack on laws that aid the LGBTQ community.
Lacking wisdom and, at the same time, properly miseducated a Black elected attorney general might purposefully fail to have a grand jury indict White police officers who murdered an innocent Black woman and, instead, obtain an indictment for one White police officer who wantonly shot bullets into the apartment of a White person.
Profoundly miseducated and, without generational wisdom, such a Black person might be the first to come to the rescue and wipe “Karen’s tears” after she was nationally criticized –even if Karen had called the police to arrest the Black person because she “looked suspicious” as she was getting into her recently purchased 2020 car. Another such miseducated Black might be the one to hug “Karen” after she was found guilty of murdering their uncle and, still another, might straighten the wrinkle in “Karen’s” dress when she rises to be sentenced in court.
Lacking generational wisdom, the proximity to power along with a big title and big salary (for a Black person) could cause miseducated folks to become classic “house Negroes.” To appreciate just how far those without wisdom might go and squander Black equity and social justice generational wealth, please read the September 28, 2020 New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily article “Ten of the most noteworthy House Negroes in America.” Therein, you will note the detrimental deeds of Clarence Thomas, Daniel Cameron, Jason Whitlock, Candace Owens, Terry Crews, Kanye West, Charles Barkley, Stacy Dash, Diamond & Silk, and Herman Cain.
If we are to end the cycle of “being sick and tired of being sick and tired” and, instead, make consistent, significant, incremental progress when it comes to Blacks acquiring freedom, justice and equality, then we must not squander the generational wisdom of those who came before us. We must not only “say their names” but also acquire the wisdom of ancestors such as James Baldwin, Daisy Bates, Mary McLeod Bethune, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Toni Morrison, Myrlie Evans-Williams, Fannie Lou Hammer, John Lewis, Audre Lorde, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pauli Murray, Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin, Carter G. Woodson, and Malcolm X.
Regarding a bit of generational wisdom from Audre Lorde, always remember that “… survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”
Lest the foregoing type of generational wisdom is internalized, years from now after yet another urban insurrection stimulated by racist abuse, Black folks will be babbling, “We had a Senior Vice President for…, and an Executive Associate for…, and a Special Counselor for…, and it seemed we’d make so much progress. But here we are again, having made so little progress over so much time.” Truly, “my people are destroyed” not only for lack of material wealth, but also lack of knowledge, understanding and wisdom!
Jack L. Daniel
Co-Founder, Freed Panther Society
Contributor, Pittsburgh Urban Media
Author, Negotiating a Historically White University While Black
October 13, 2020