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People are placed IN POWER so that they can EMPOWER our community. This is not meant to be a sermon, but today for several reasons I am feeling like our community leaders sometimes gets confused between being in power and the responsibility they then have of empowering our community.
Now let's break it down. We elect, appoint, hire and place African Americans in positions of power so that they can in turn empower our people and our community. We don't choose them just because they are African American and we must not judge them solely upon their race but on how they have served the community that put them there in the first place. All too often people get into power and forget who and how they got there. We discuss the fact that this or that person is in charge of a multi-million dollar budget, or sits on this or that committee. However, we fail to ask ourselves if they used that power to bring much needed resources and services to our community. Did they bring businesses and jobs to the community? Did they ensure that an adequate number of contracts and dollars are being distributed to their constituents and to the people who put them in office and live within their communities? Did they advertise in the Sentinel, on KJLH? Are they members of GLAAAC or the BBA? How many grant dollars have they delivered to the community-based organizations that serve us?
Now this theory does not stand only for those people in elected office. This theory also counts for people appointed to corporate board of directors, heads of community-based agencies and those of us in the private sector as well. There is nothing wrong with doing well, but you have a responsibility to do good also. If the Sentinel did not support the community, if we did not tell the stories you wanted to hear about and if we did not give back to the community, I would not expect you to support or empower to be your community news resource.
If you sit on a board of directors it is your responsibility to ask the officers and other board members about how many African Americans are in executive positions. How many contracts and how much money do we spend with African American businesses? We must ask our agencies, if we are really reaching out to African Americans when we are trying to fulfill the community outreach requirement of an RFP or RFQ or are we just meeting the minimum standard to get the grant. And those of us in the private sector must also ask ourselves if we are using our businesses to only enrich ourselves or are we making it better for others while at the same time promoting our own self-interest?
Remember we are in power to empower and if we don't empower others we will not be in power for long. The people select the President of the United States, to all of the governors, legislators, supervisors, superintendents, board members and private businesses leaders because they are intrusting us to not only make our own lives better but to make their lives and the lives of their families better. If they are not doing that, then there is no reason to keep them in power. I just want to make sure that none of us forget that we are IN POWER to EMPOWER!
So, whether you agree or disagree, now more than ever I really need your input. I need to hear from you. I need to know what is going on in our community. I also need to know what other stories we need to tell, and what is on your mind. I really do want to hear from you, I want you to "Talk to Danny."
God Bless You,
Danny J. Bakewell, Jr.
President & Executive Editor