#M4BL Convening Participant
“The revolution will be intersectional or there won’t be a revolution.” #ALLBlackLivesMatter
#BlackLivesMatter leader said to Hilary “there is not much we can do to stop the violence against us” …. um how about Self Determination? Revolution? Black Power? Self Defense? Nation Building? – Gazi Kodzo
“Culture impacts and often precedes political change….Or put in another way, political change is the final manifestation of cultural shifts that have already occurred.”
Chang argues that the right understands the importance of culture and narrative building much better than progressives in either electoral or movement politics.
He states: “Sadly most progressives—whether they work in electoral politics or movement politics—have not yet figured culture into their theory of change. Unlike the right, they have no cultural strategy…..One thing progressives need to do is to understand the importance of expressing our hopes and dreams in narratives. Progressives misunderstand culture. The right is clear about it—Beck, Brietbart, and O’Reilly were long in the creation; they are the products of a four-decade long conservative movement building initiative. We need to build up an infrastructure that includes cultural strategy. We focus on facts and figures, but stories are what move the country. Culture is where ideas are introduced, values are inculcated, and emotions are attached to concrete change. It is where the national imagination gets moved. So we need cultural strategy.”
“Intention combined with detachment leads to a life-centered, present moment awareness. And when action is performed in present-moment awareness, it is most effective. Your intent is for the future, but your attention is in the present. As long as your attention is in the present, then your intent will manifest because the future is created in the present. You must accept the present as is. Accept the present and intend the future. The future is something you can always create through detached intention, but you should never struggle against the present.
“The past, present, and future are all properties of consciousness. The past is recollection, memory; the future is anticipation; the present is awareness. Therefore time is the movement of thought. Both past and future are born in the imagination; only the present, which is awareness, is real and eternal. It is.”
– from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
RACE SPACE CONTROL POWER
It was Dr. Karenga who reminded those of us gathered at the Chicago forum that unity does not necessarily demand conformity or uniformity. Dr. Karenga stated that the principle of “operational unity” will enable Black leaders to work together in a focused manner on certain issues without having to compromise their principles on those issues where there may be agreement or disagreement.
What if Black people and all of those committed to liberation would adhere to a code of conduct rooted in the principle of operational unity? That would mean a few things:
1) We affirm OUR PRIMARY ALLEGIANCE IS TO THE BLACK COLLECTIVE (that means all of us y’all…middle class, poor, incarcerated, queer, straight, trans, women, men, old, young…all of us). We put the collective ahead of our own ambitions, individual advancement, access, enrichment, personal gain or ego, and most certainly ahead of interests outside of our community that provide us with the illusion of power.
2) WE TREAT EACH OTHER WITH LOVE AND RESPECT constantly and consistently. We see and embrace the best in each other and even in our criticisms, engage in loving and respectful ways. This means refraining from cursing and disparaging remarks both in and out of the presence of one another.
3) WE ARE TRANSPARENT IN OUR ENGAGEMENTS. We are clear about our dealings and refrain from manipulations and closed door sessions that are hidden from the whole.
4) WE LODGE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISMS BY ENGAGING LOVINGLY AND HONESTLY WITH EACH OTHER PERSONALLY rather than attacking our would-be comrades on social or traditional media.
5) WE APPRECIATE ALL CONTRIBUTIONS THAT ADVANCE OUR COLLECTIVE INTERESTS rather than berating folks for not engaging in the way that we might prefer or center. This means that we recognize that everyone cannot do everything.
6) We recognize that WE ARE NOT IN COMPETITION WITH ONE ANOTHER. We must take our own egos out of movement building and recognize that the more hands we have on deck, the greater our chances of victory.
7) WE GROUND AND CENTER OURSELVES IN SPIRIT, constantly checking our own egos, interrogating our own motives, and summoning Divine guidance that we may behave justly, ethically and with the greatest sense of integrity.
This reflection comes out of recent engagements and interactions with a few folks who seem to be putting ego ahead of collective liberation. Such individuals see fit to attack #BlackLivesMatter…a movement that has made tremendous progress in its short life…rather than being excited by the new energy. To them we say there is always time to shift…to understand that there is room for all of us in the movement as long as we are sincere in our commitment to the whole and steadfast in our commitment to liberation.
The question remains as to what is to be done should individuals choose to reject ethics and continue to inflate their egos by attacking others. Let’s pray that love and light takes over and that we can develop a Black united front that is real and sustainable. Our lives and our liberation depend on it.