Taking Responsibility For and Control of Our Communities
By: Abena Isake (Present member of Assatashakur.org)
Take their differences and make them bigger is what Willie Lynch said on the bank of the James River in 1712 while giving slave masters the keys to further control Black slaves, beyond physical constraints. The mission: to divide and conquer. Now, nearly three centuries later this poison still festers and dwells within the Black psyche, as it was predicted this self-refueling and self-regenerating indoctrination would be carried on for at least 300 years, maybe even thousands.
Take our differences and make them smaller was the new state of mind as members of Pensacola’s community entered The Greater Union Baptist Church at 1300 North Guillemard Street, on Saturday, October 8, 2005. The mission: to unite and triumph. With each participant given a copy of Lynch’s infamous speech and a program of the day’s events, all were armed and consciously ready to defy the ‘full proof’ method of division set so long ago.
No matter the social circles, class status or job occupations. Christians, Muslims, non-denominations. Male, female, young, old – all came together for a common goal: to transfer a community in crisis from crisis to control.
Breakdown of the family, crime, personal financial insecurity, lack of community wealth and spiritual transgression were areas identified as crisis in the community. Throughout the entire day workshops were held on these various issues and how pliable solutions could and would be created. At the close of these educational breakout sessions a thought provoking panel discussion moderated by “The Black Eagle”, Joe Madison of 169 the Power XM Radio, WOL 1450, was held. Panelist included: Hugh G. King, Sr., Mustaphaa Muhammad, Sir Charles Martin, Robert Hill, Raychelle Gaston, and Gary Bryant.
Immediately following a Black community town hall meeting kicked off opening the floor to the voices of the community.
Highlighting this dynamic event was a keynote address from Dr. Na’im Akbar, author of BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY, THE COMMUNITY OF SELF, VISIONS FOR BLACK MEN, and KNOW THY SELF, among other titles and numerous scholarly papers and articles. He is noted as one of the greatest thinkers and orators of our time. Speaking on the mission of this movement ‘From Crisis to Control’ Dr. Akbar stressed,
“It’s a very important part of what should be a national effort to move us toward understanding our responsibility to take more control of our communities, of our lives, of our children and of our future. I think the purpose of this whole gathering was to say to Pensacola that, look, there are broad discrepancies and disparities in terms of resources and everything else that’s here. It’s not so much a matter of what people are not giving us as it is our not taking for ourselves, what we need for ourselves. So this whole purpose is to look financially, educationally, in terms of our family, in terms of our faith to find out if we are doing all that we can do to take full responsibility of gaining control.
We must be moving toward gaining increased control of our lives and our own communities.”
This is only the beginning. As this movement gains momentum, perhaps our mighty Ancestors will smile upon us with pride as we continue making monumental strides from crisis to control in our communities.
(This event was sponsored by Brooks Martin Investments, LLC/Greater Union Baptist Church. For more information on this movement visit www.crisistocontrol.org and for a complete copy of Willie Lynch’s letter visit www.africanamericanimages.com.)