By Dr. John E. Warren – Publisher
Twenty five years ago the Voice & Viewpoint called for the creation of a Black Agenda for San Diego. On our Editorial page we called for all African American organizations in San Diego County to come together in a “Black Political Caucus” that would have no one person designated as leader, but instead would rotate leadership according to the issues defined. The call never got off the ground. Instead a Black Leadership Forum was created that really never touched the issues of a Black Agenda in a collective and inclusive way.
Twelve years later, Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare of the Black Think Tank wrote “The Black Agenda” in which they said “that over the last three decades, Black folks have convened hundreds of conferences, seminars, lectures, workshops, written news releases, e -mails, snail mail,on where do we go from here?” “But once we leave these confabs, feeling hyped and ready to get on with a black agenda or whatever purpose; once the microphones are packed away, the lights dimmed, the speakers paid, we are back to business as usual.” Too often this has been the case in San Diego because of a lack of appreciation for those who have fought the battle, have the knowledge, needed to go forward, but are either ignored or ask to follow “recent arrivals” who come believing they can do more than the people here without even having a discussion. They issue clarion calls for followers without even knowing where they themselves are going or what happened before they arrived. Black newspapers, of which we have two, are the archivist of the Black Experience in San Diego, yet the new arrivals neither read or research that which happened before they arrived. Too often their level of participation is limited to their period of leadership. The problem with this is two fold: (1) those truly wanting to do something become disappointed because once again discussion has not lead to solutions, and (2) those who are watching what we do determine that we are no real threat to social change because we are so fragmented.
The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint has attempted over the past two years to once again fill the gap by instituting a series of Town Hall Meetings on a variety of issues involving both the African and African American communities of San Diego. These meetings were convened to give people an opportunity for expression and information, not as a final solution.
Now a new group of citizens have called for a “Town Hall Meeting” on a Black Agenda for San Diego. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 28th at the Christian Fellowship Congregational Church on Kelton off Highway 94 East. Topics of Employment, Education, etc. have been identified as issues of interest. While neither the Voice & Viewpoint or the San Diego Monitor News were consulted as to what has already been done in this area, both newspapers encourage full community participation. Perhaps those convening the “Town Hall Meeting” will both learn something of what has been done over the years and be able to do more than those of us who have tried before them. News of this even has been circulated on the internet since neither of our newspapers were contacted before before or during the planning of this event. In the spirit of unity, lets come out and support this new effort.