PHOTO: Dr. John Cheeks, Black recovery organizer and congressional candidate, appeared on The AllEyesOnDC Show on July 20 to speak about his political movement, and explain his efforts to secure the financial compensation of descendants of the enslaved. (Screenshot from Facebook Live feed of The AllEyesOnDC Show)
The July edition of The AllEyesOnDC Show, themed “Why Should I Vote?” looked at the act of the voting in the context of Black African civic engagement, and long-term grassroots organizing.
At the start of the Friday night program, guests quickly learned that the show wouldn’t focus solely on voting, but the lack of a political infrastructure that has allowed outside interests to determine the affairs of Black African communities in D.C., and other cities and towns throughout the United States.
A PowerPoint presentation by AllEyesOnDC Host and Founder Sam P.K. Collins outlined a long-term political strategy he said will provide a means for self-determination and protection of Black African institutions. Below are the steps:
- Establish residency
- Register to vote
- Form neighborhood community groups with a self-determined Black African focus
- Outline policy goals and demands of elected officials, and other powers that be
- Agitate political leaders and other policy shapers between and during election seasons, on those issues
The execution of this model, Brother Sam said, requires an embrace of communalism, a sociopolitical system that most closely resembles the composition of our African nations before colonialism and Maafa. As a group scattered and broken apart by gentrification and gerrymandering, the creation of a Black African political umbrella unites people representing various interests and constituencies within that network. Black African unification solidifies a Black African power base and makes known, among outside actors and mavens of political power, Black African needs and desires that have struggled to compete among the various sea of outside interests dominating the political arena.
A visitor at the July 20 gathering at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe who said he enjoyed the presentation, took this concept even further, suggesting that the Black African people of D.C., once they form this umbrella, push Black African political candidates who represent the needs of the Black African masses, and stand willing to challenge the Democratic stronghold that has allowed displacement and wealth inequality in the nation’s capital for more than a decade.
All in all, it’s becoming increasingly clear that, despite the misinformation circulating among Black African people about the impotency of the vote, this community is on the cusp of a political renaissance. In order for this goal to come to fruition, all Black African people, regardless of industry or career path, must become politicians in a sense and knowledgeable of how laws affect their ability to execute their craft.
More importantly, now’s the time to organize, not mobilize, so that in times of overt trouble, Black African people are ready to attack on all fronts.
More information to come about Black African political organizing in a later post.