Dear Black America,
My name is Nicole Angela Tinson, and I am from South Central Los Angeles. I am writing you because we are in trouble! Our educational system is terrible, the violence in our communities is horrific, the lack of empowerment disdains, the lack of job/economic opportunities is appalling, the health disparities are sickening, and our sense of pride appears to have gone out the window. We are keeping calm, when we should be outraged. We are in trouble, and this is not new. These are the same issues we have been dealing with in our community for decades, but when will we stand up and say, “enough is enough” Black America?
Black America— so much depends on our own, personal responsibility. Sure it is easy to blame “them,” but what about US? When will we take credit for what we do (and choose not to do)? When will we admit that we are not building our OWN economy by creating and supporting small businesses in our community? When will we admit that we are not fighting to end food deserts present in OUR neighborhoods which lead to the many of the health disparities we encounter? When will we admit that the people killing our people look, talk, and even have the same blood running through them as we do? When do we face our part in our problems and decide once and for all to make a change?
The word change is powerful and is used colloquially. There are several definitions of the word CHANGE; they include: to make different in some particular; to make radically different (transform); or to give a different position, course, or direction to. We need to make something radically different. We need a new direction. Black America, we need a change. What we are doing now is not the answer because we keep ending up at the same point. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. It is clear we have gone insane, but this is not the end all. This moment is full of potential for us to progressively make and become the change we wish to see. Ultimately, it is our responsibility break this complacency seen in our community.
Black America, what does it take for us to become mobile? For us to move with a sense of purpose and urgency? How many more people need to die from heart disease because we are not being healthy and taking care of us? How many more people need to resort to selling drugs or their bodies on the streets because they lack the quality education and professional skills to attain LIVABLE economic opportunities? How many children need to fall behind after the third grade because we are not taking the responsibility at home to help them learn how to read and write? How many people need to be killed senselessly, before we decide we need to move, and move quickly? (67 people were killed in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend) How many more people need to be placed in handcuffs in an institution intended to rehabilitate, but which only intensifies the core reasons for being placed there in the first place? How can we complain about the situations in our communities, but not get out and vote for state and local officials, the positions that impact our lives the most? How much longer will we be represented by people that do not have our best interests at heart? How much longer are we going to allow these cyclical issues occur?
We cannot continue to have the “it doesn’t concern me” attitude because it affects all of us whether we are aware or not. When we learn it is not about us individually, but about the greater whole, we will have essentially found the purpose of living and the urgency to make our living conditions better. When we understand that we are expected to fail, but are built to overcome, it will make the fight to redemption of our people even more valuable and immeasurable in the end. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speech I’ve Been Over the Mountaintop, “let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.” And we do. It is up to us to make Black America better. It is up to us to endure this present challenge and make a change.
Black America— the time is now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not next year, but NOW. It is up to us to make a change. We have to stop talking about it and be about it. Mentor a child, encourage those doing wrong to do right AND provide them with the resources to do so, love one another, empower each other, do not judge one another, provide support in times of trials and tribulations to one another, educate one another, include one another, grow with one another, work with a purpose with one another, pray with one another, stand up against injustice with one another, love one another and most importantly have faith in one another. We understand the issues, but through hard work, dedication, and most importantly FAITH, we can see and make the change we wish to see.
A friend of mine, Rachel Williams said, “standing up for what is right will be an increasingly more complex decision. It will get harder and the social consequences will be deeper.” But nothing that comes easy is worth having. It will take much courage, integrity, character, composure, and resilience, but Black America, I know we are equipped. It starts with the individual; not an organization, not an initiative, not a campaign or cause, but with YOU Black America. A change is going to come, but it will not come if we continue to sit around and wait for it. We have to become proactive in this effort of making our community better. The responsibility rests with you. The change stems from you. Black America, I look forward to your response and I understand that it will not be instant, but I have patience, and know the right thing will be done. I love you Black America.
Nicole A. Tinson
Optimistic About Change
18 thoughts on “My Open Letter to the Black Community”
Please review comments of your article left on Facebook page.
Charles D. Sharp
Chief Executive Officer
Black Emergency Managers Association
The desire for change increases with every crying murder victim’s mother on the news. The people are anxious to get on these issues. The most pressing issue facing our people is a lack of compassion. Since the evil genius Willie Lynch came up with the formula on how to keep slaves pitted against one another, we have been systematically programmed to hate those who share similar experiences with ourselves. What has to happen first is the reinvention of Black America. We as intellectuals and future achievers must set the example of what exactly The NEW-New Negro in America looks like. Which, to my dismay, may mean casting aside old traditions and values that we hold dear( at least momentarily). We have to create a being that wil not only be attainable to people hungry for reform like you and I, but that will also seem appealing to those who are indifferent to the struggle we find ourselves in. Hardest question to answer is, Are you ready?
Excellent article and well said.
The article was well written & speaks volumes of truth…God bless
I agree with your sentiments completely. I am happy to discover that there are other young Black americans who share the some of the same views as my inner circle of close personal friends. I am currently pursuing a political career as I whole-heartedly feel that this is one of several keys to advancing the status of OUR people. Being a native Las Vegan, I see a lot of the same problems in my travels around the country. I would be honored to consider you an ally in this mission for change. If you are in need of support in anyway you have my word as a young man in our community, I will do anything I can to promote positive change in our community. WE are out here, it’s time to mobilize.
Nicole Oh how I love this . I am a proud black woman of 50yrs and my mission( and I am spiritual but not religious) is to save these babies. Teach the children. Help the homeless. Provide mental health to the prisoners trying to transition back to the community. Set up community gardens. Get a Coop grocery store in the hoods. Kick these corner stores off the block. Black folks owning their own communities. Autonomy.
I am a member of the Black Autonomy Federation and our mission is to do just what is stated above. We reach from South to North and now out West. I also work in the Public School system and I see the pipeline from the schools to the Prison Slave Encampments. I see that we need our Village back. So send me an email I want to begin somewhere very soon. A winter garden. Earth quake preperation kits. That can be prepared with EBT cards and a few dollars. A start. I want churches to have volunteer breakfast and lunches and summer school for the babies. Ages 2-10 a safe environment. That is a start. Let’s work together. We are a strong people. The government does not care period. Water is going to be scarce in 5 years lets work on getting our own resources. Bottling from springs in Mexico?
Very good article Nicole I am proud of you. I think you are correct and that the black community is sleeping. Or that there are more people “sleep” than “awake.” I believe the reason is so because we feel as if there are no more issues to solve. When Dr. King led the civil rights movement, everyone worked together because they wanted to eradicate the Overt racism in Jim Crow. It was in their faces! Now everything is more hidden, and since it is hidden in things such as Policies, we feel as if there is no issue because we can’t see it. It is not in our face. And then as you stated above, it may even be in our face such as murders etc, but we feel inferior. Not as a black race, but simply as a person. We believe that we can’t make a difference. We don’t believe that we have the smarts, resources to see change come and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I can go on and on…..
WE, Black people are the Chosen Ones who have turned their backs on Yahweh. It was said scripturally that we would be trampled over from all other nationalities. We will rise again but we must begin NOW. We must do more than talking about it we must be about it. We can all get this movement going today. If there is anything that you need from me please do not hesitate to email me with any information and I will start right here in Michigan. Thank you
I agree. If there is a plan or organization nationally already begun….let us build on that one using that model. Is there one…..if not we WILL be using this blog to build on. Thank you so much for sharing.
Nicole as a black woman with three sons and a daughter I find myself so overwelmed seeing that there are others that are willing to take that stand and call OUR VILLAGE out.
So many times I find myself beyond frustrated with OUR people wanting to tear other ethnicities apart when they have offended one of ours. I often find myself in heated conversations asking us to take a stand and go to the picket lines over what we are doing to ourselves.
I weep when I ponder on all that my grandmother, my father and just my ancestors period fought so hard for me and you along with our sisters and brothers to be able to do. They shed blood for us to go to school, to sit and be →respected by all. And we have little to know respect for one another.
Please continue to write and speak out. I would love to see our up amd coming leaders and politicians to fo to Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, Los Angelas and other cities to march.
Let us have a million belt march or a million dictionary march.. Everyone buy belts and dictionaries. Let us show each other that we need to pull our pants up. Get some respect and dignity for ourselves and others. Let us realize that “ebonics” is not an official language.
Nicole I could continue on and on…I thank you and appreciate you.
Kepp on keeping on as I will also.
The power to take back our community starts with one person, one family, one neighbor, one block, one community taking a stand. If that energy, that power is transferred to another family on another block a cascadedomino effect will take place. One person can make a difference.
Charles D. Sharp
CEO. Black Emergency Managers Association
Ms. Tinson listed below is what I placed on Facebook as an initial response to your letter. You have, and will make a difference. CDS
“Grab that young mind on the corner, place them in a situation where they are now the leaders of their community. Let them run a non-profit, create jobs, establish a school system, and plan for the future. Let us as subject matter experts guide them, and provide the subject matter expertise.”
Yesterday at 11:24am
“The current paradigm, models, and ‘academic’ methods for our young are not working. The residence in our communities are high. Thinking outside of the box, and changing the paradigm may, just may incite our young men and women to take control of their communities for sustainable and resilient growth.”
Yesterday at 11:26am
How drastic is the situation, the dilemma in the U.S. that we as African-Americans are facing. Something now has to be instituted that should have been implemented as Booker T. Washington established many of the HBCU’s throughout the U.S.
….All African-American previous slaves, and of slave ancestry: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth generation are hereby granted open admission to any HBCU within their state, county and any adjoining state of residence of the individual that this institution is established and shall only be accountable financially for food and beverages while attending such institution.
Totally out of the box thinking. Well some non-HBCU institutions are offering free college courses. How many individuals within our communities know of, and are taking these courses?
Hello Ms Tinson:
Thank you for courageously saying outloud what many black people have attempted to say for decades. More specifically, thank you for ‘coming out of the closet’ and voicing your concern about Black America in the midst of Pres. Obama’s second term in office. Believe me it takes courage to do so.
Today, when a black person speaks up and out they are wrongly tagged and labeled in order to silence them. with words like “Conservative,” “Republican,” and “Uncle Tom.”
I noticed that not once in your letter did you mention the president by name, nor his administration, or the fact that 93% of black votes were used to usher in harmful agendas detrimental to our community. In fact, we failed to use our political clout to usher in any changes whatsoever of specific benefit to the black community.
From where I’m sitting you seemed to have willingly picked up a baton and ran with an all but too important message. Do you have any thoughts or concerns, that this very same message could have been coined and delivered years ago by candidate now Pres. Obama or, since his term in office, by hundreds of surrogates (ie, NAACP Congressional Black Caucus, etc, who could have ushered in these changes)? Where have they been for 5 years, Ms Tinson. Should the only concern of black Americans be limited to social justice (voting rights and the justice system)?
It seems as though the president and his many surrogates could care less that we were the dust and fodder after the canon goes off. And when I say fodder, I mean having no real importance or significance.
Lori Moore Braneon
Our people need you…
Where do we go from here? First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amid a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black. The job of arousing manhood within a people that have been taught for so many centuries that they are nobody is not easy.
Even semantics have conspired to make that which is black seem ugly and degrading. In Roget’s Thesaurus there are some 120 synonyms for blackness and at least sixty of them are offensive, such words as blot, soot, grim, devil, and foul. And there are some 134 synonyms for whiteness and all are favorable, expressed in such words as purity, cleanliness, chastity, and innocence. A white lie is better than a black lie. The most degenerate member of a family is the “black sheep.” Ossie Davis has suggested that maybe the English language should be reconstructed so that teachers will not be forced to teach the Negro child sixty ways to despise himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of inferiority, and the white child 134 ways to adore himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of superiority. The tendency to ignore the Negro’s contribution to American life and strip him of his personhood is as old as the earliest history books and as contemporary as the morning’s newspaper.
To offset this cultural homicide, the Negro must rise up with an affirmation of his own Olympian manhood. Any movement for the Negro’s freedom that overlooks this necessity is only waiting to be buried. As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation, no Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation. And with a spirit straining toward true self-esteem, the Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and say to himself and to the world, “I am somebody. I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honor. I have a rich and noble history, however painful and exploited that history has been. Yes, I was a slave through my foreparents, and now I’m not ashamed of that. I’m ashamed of the people who were so sinful to make me a slave.” Yes, yes, we must stand up and say, “I’m black, but I’m black and beautiful.” This [applause], this self-affirmation is the black man’s need, made compelling by the white man’s crimes against him.
Thank you so very much for with us. Please don’t let ANYONE water down these views. We must learn to love ourselves first and must….must reach out to make a positive difference.