OK, for those who read last week’s article and who stopped me in Albertson’s, or on campus, to ask when we were going to get something going on, in the aftermath of the MLK Day 2013 celebration.

Around Jan. 20, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., the Council of Black Political Organizations (COBPO), KJLH’s Frontpage and, most likely, Our Weekly newspaper, will co-sponsor a California Town Hall on a Black American agenda.

The gathering will utilize the agenda as it has already been formulated and agreed upon by the coterie of community groups and activists who showed up for the meetings at the Vision Theater in October, November and December 2010. The Black Agenda was also an original product of the Black think tank that met monthly at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSDH), from 2008-2010, and included luminaries like writers Larry and Erin Aubry, former rapper-producer and club owner Lonzo Williams, the city of Carson’s Geneva Beaver, Prof. Blaine Pope, CSDH Professor Keith Claybrook, J. Owens Smith, etc.

So, it has already seen and incorporated the thoughts and experiences of many dimensions of Black life.

It was not the product of a solitary mind, and it was topical rather than prescriptive. The Agenda focused on identifying the major areas and issues the Black community ( in its various guises) needed addressing, rather than laying out how to address each item.

The thrust of the January town hall will not be to reinvent the wheel or to spend much time revisiting the existing Black Agenda, although anything in it that raises some important concern should be and will be addressed. The essence of the town hall will be to discuss how to implement the Black Agenda. Should recently re-elected Congresspersons Maxine Waters (43rd District), or Karen Bass (33rd District) and Barbara Lee (9th District) be presented a copy and strongly requested to consider the contents when choosing new legislative initiatives for 2013 and beyond? Will State Senator Curren Price (26th District), Assemblypersons Holly Mitchell (47th district), Isadore Hall (64th District) and Steve Bradford (51st District) be counseled likewise, as will Los Angeles City Council members Bernard Parks (8th District), Herb Wesson (10th District), Jan Perry (9th District) and LAUSD Board Member Marguerite Lamotte?

Will the various Black community groups be asked to incorporate aspects of the Black Agenda into their annual programmatic plans? No one elected official or activist group can or will handle the entire Black Agenda. It is too large for that. Instead, within the January discussion we will advocate that everyone from his/her own perspective and social-political position, push that part of the Black Agenda that he/she can feasibly accomplish.

Will the Black Agenda be taken to Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP CEO Ben Jealous, both of whom seem to have a regular meeting arrangement with President Obama? Or will the town hall identify another implementation strategy?

Will this town hall approach step on the toes of Tavis Smiley’s annual get-together to showcase the Black leaders (or leading Blacks, as Julia Hare called them–those who simply find a way to step out front, with or without a constituency)? We hope so.

Smiley’s production is always rather entertaining, but rarely does it result in any real action or forward-going strategy. We need more.

Clearly, this is a turning-point moment. We either get our political needs into the picture ourselves, rather than assuming that President Obama or any of his advisers will just know what Black folk need and want, and relying on that (then simply whining and complaining when none of our interests automatically get addressed), or we continue to wait for divine intervention. The way I was taught in church, God helps those who help themselves.

So, stay tuned to Our Weekly and to KJLH Frontpage for the location of the Black Agenda Town Hall, January, 2013, and plan to come and participate. First, however, read the Black Agenda as it is at www.cobpo.org so you can come to the gathering intellectually armed and ready for political engagement.

We will not be playing. Come ready or stay home.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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