Thousands of community residents along with some of the most powerful and influential advocates from the civil rights community, advocates for human justice, religious leaders, proponents of quality education, politicians, entertainers, business and labor leaders will all convene for a historical march and rally on February 21, the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, in Los Angeles.
The Black Leadership Coalition, which consists of civil rights leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, businessman, newspaper owner and philanthropist Danny J. Bakewell Sr., Rev. Xavier Thompson of Southern Missionary Church and president of the Baptist Ministers Conference, Bishop Charles E. Blake of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, Pastor Edgar Boyd of First AME, LaPhonza Butler, president of Services Employment International Union, state Senator Isadore Hall III, Lamont G. Jackson, trustee of Los Angeles Community College District, Dr. Maulana Karenga of the African American Cultural center, LAUSD Board Member George McKenna, L.A. Urban league president Nolan Rollins, Pastor William Smart of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. K.W. Tulloss of National Action Network (NAN), the Brotherhood Crusade, Mothers In Action and many others have pledged to challenge issues that have plagued the Black community for years.
Some of the issues to be discussed are police brutality, economic disparity, quality of education and other elements that has negatively impacted African Americans and prevented them from the qualities of life.
Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel stated, “We are coming together as a community to demonstrate our frustration and disapproval of the handling of the investigation into the death of Ezell Ford. There have been major demonstrations throughout the country regarding police brutality and misconduct but we as a community have not come together here in Los Angeles this will be that demonstration. But our protests don’t end there, we want to bring to light the fact that as a community the African American Agenda has been put on the back burner. Black Lives Matter, Black Unemployment Matters, Black Education Matters, Black Businesses Matter, Black Incarceration Rates Matter. We have a lot of things that are part of the collective issues that concern our quality of life here in our community and we can no longer sit quietly and let others determine what should or how these issues are resolved. This will be a demonstration of our collective strength and concern about putting our issues at the forefront and not let others determine our quality of life.”
,Legendary hip-hop artist, actress and community advocate Yolanda “YoYo” Whitaker has agreed to be a part of this historical march and lead the charge encouraging others in the entertainment community to do the same. When asked why she was joining the movement and participating in the march Whitaker responded “As Dr. Martin Luther King once said ‘The time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us today…’”
Whitaker expressed her concerns about the quality of life for Black people in Los Angeles and throughout the country, and indicated that is was important for everyone to show up and show their concern.
The Rev. Tuloss, president of the west coast chapter of NAN, hailed the march as significant, “because it’s the first time in a long time that our community has come together for the purpose of advancing an agenda, specifically progress.”
According to a survey conducted in association with Ebony Magazine, although Blacks continue to maintain an estimated buying power of more than $1 trillion annually, they’re still deprived in the workforce.
A recent Mother Jones survey also revealed that 74% of people don’t believe enough is being done to support young Black men.
An alarming 82% believe whites still make more than Blacks for doing the same jobs, 52% see the media portrayal of African-Americans as generally negative, and
1/3 are concerned that their children are not getting a quality education.
Seventy-four percent say efforts to reduce crime and violence in their neighborhood are losing ground or staying the same, and 30% said “improving the creating more jobs/good paying jobs” is a top issue of concern.
USA Today notes that 700 out of a total of 17,000 American law enforcement agencies report police-involved shootings to the FBI. These agencies only record so-called “justifiable homicides,” or incidents in which police shot an armed suspect. All in all, the reporting system tells very little about how many people are killed by police, and nothing about those killed in an unjust fashion.
Eighty-six percent of African-Americans think city police are usually tougher on African-Americans, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll.
One in three Black men nationwide can expect to go to prison at some point in their lifetime, according to data cited by the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for prison reform. That number is one in six for Latino males, and one in 17 for white males.
”The Business Case for Racial Equity,” by the Altarum Institute underscores the potential benefits to business, government and the economy if racial inequities are addressed.