today in black history

November 22, 2017

The Philadelphia Tribune is founded in 1884, now the oldest continually published non-church Black newspaper.

It Takes a Village

POSTED: March 13, 2009, 8:00 am

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We are living during a very difficult time in our nation’s history. The current recession is taking a toll on communities across the country and Blacks have been particularly hard hit. With Black unemployment climbing, and Black men and young adults severely impacted, many neighborhoods are now beginning to show the effects of the economic downturn. Even with the infusion of federal stimulus dollars, many of our neighborhoods will face longer recoveries due to the loss of wages, foreclosures and abandoned housing, and crime.

If there ever was a time to invoke our cultural connection to the “Village,” the time is now. We should know by now that the government cannot solve all of our problems. It is also clear that charity has its place but social welfare is not the route to economic independence. We can come out of this downturn much stronger if we turn to one another for support, and each of us makes it our responsibility to reach out and assist, in any way possible, our friends and family in need.

There are some simple things you can do. One of the first is to check-in with elderly neighbors or relatives to make certain that they are in good care. Perhaps a senior citizen in your neighborhood needs to go food shopping or is in need of food? An offer to do grocery shopping or to buy food or cook a couple of meals per week can go a long way. They may be in need of repairs around the house. If you aren’t handy with tools, maybe you know a carpenter, plumber or electrician who is willing to offer a discounted rate to the elderly or even do minor repairs at no cost.

Children and young people are often not on the radar screen when we think about this recession. However, they are affected too. Many have few productive outlets that allow them to escape the realities of these difficult times. We need more adults volunteering to work with our youth to give them positive life experiences. Our community is destined for disaster if we do not take it upon ourselves to provide guidance and support to our children. Join a local community or church group that serves young people. If there is no program in your area, enlist the support of other adults and start one. An investment of a few hours each week will pay tremendous dividends.

We need to also make sure that our friends who have lost their jobs during this recession are okay. A simple call or words of encouragement can go a long way. While money is tight for everyone these days, a few dollars to help out with bills would be a practical way to lend support to someone who is suddenly unemployed. You can also help by sharing any contacts you might have for prospective jobs. People who lose their jobs often withdraw socially, due to limited funds or out of embarrassment of being unemployed, so an invitation to a free night out can do wonders to lift spirits. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; the movies, an art exhibit, or a pot luck dinner will suffice. The important thing is sharing our time.

It is time we started supporting Black owned businesses that provide quality goods and services. The dollars we spend with our own businesses generally stay within our community. As these firms grow there is a higher likelihood that they will hire from within our community too, thereby strengthening Black families. We are not advocating a simple “Buy Black,” strategy because to protect ourselves as consumers we must “buy smart.” Not all Black businesses deserve our business but many do. Let’s start supporting those businesses that have demonstrated their commitment to our community through the manner in which they operate. We will become a mature community when we develop a greater degree of financial independence, and that can only happen when our businesses and entrepreneurs reach their full potential.

Now is the time for our community to pull together. The change that President Obama has championed can only be realized if we too change from the bottom up. Our best days are ahead if we make it our mantra to leave no one behind, to support one another, and to lead productive lives that are marked by excellence
We are living during a very difficult time in our nation’s history. The current recession is taking a toll on communities across the country and Blacks have been particularly hard hit. With Black unemployment climbing, and Black men and young adults severely impacted, many neighborhoods are now beginning to show the effects of the economic downturn. Even with the infusion of federal stimulus dollars, many of our neighborhoods will face longer recoveries due to the loss of wages, foreclosures and abandoned housing, and crime.

If there ever was a time to invoke our cultural connection to the “Village,” the time is now. We should know by now that the government cannot solve all of our problems. It is also clear that charity has its place but social welfare is not the route to economic independence. We can come out of this downturn much stronger if we turn to one another for support, and each of us makes it our responsibility to reach out and assist, in any way possible, our friends and family in need.

There are some simple things you can do. One of the first is to check-in with elderly neighbors or relatives to make certain that they are in good care. Perhaps a senior citizen in your neighborhood needs to go food shopping or is in need of food? An offer to do grocery shopping or to buy food or cook a couple of meals per week can go a long way. They may be in need of repairs around the house. If you aren’t handy with tools, maybe you know a carpenter, plumber or electrician who is willing to offer a discounted rate to the elderly or even do minor repairs at no cost.

Children and young people are often not on the radar screen when we think about this recession. However, they are affected too. Many have few productive outlets that allow them to escape the realities of these difficult times. We need more adults volunteering to work with our youth to give them positive life experiences. Our community is destined for disaster if we do not take it upon ourselves to provide guidance and support to our children. Join a local community or church group that serves young people. If there is no program in your area, enlist the support of other adults and start one. An investment of a few hours each week will pay tremendous dividends.

We need to also make sure that our friends who have lost their jobs during this recession are okay. A simple call or words of encouragement can go a long way. While money is tight for everyone these days, a few dollars to help out with bills would be a practical way to lend support to someone who is suddenly unemployed. You can also help by sharing any contacts you might have for prospective jobs. People who lose their jobs often withdraw socially, due to limited funds or out of embarrassment of being unemployed, so an invitation to a free night out can do wonders to lift spirits. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; the movies, an art exhibit, or a pot luck dinner will suffice. The important thing is sharing our time.

It is time we started supporting Black owned businesses that provide quality goods and services. The dollars we spend with our own businesses generally stay within our community. As these firms grow there is a higher likelihood that they will hire from within our community too, thereby strengthening Black families. We are not advocating a simple “Buy Black,” strategy because to protect ourselves as consumers we must “buy smart.” Not all Black businesses deserve our business but many do. Let’s start supporting those businesses that have demonstrated their commitment to our community through the manner in which they operate. We will become a mature community when we develop a greater degree of financial independence, and that can only happen when our businesses and entrepreneurs reach their full potential.

Now is the time for our community to pull together. The change that President Obama has championed can only be realized if we too change from the bottom up. Our best days are ahead if we make it our mantra to leave no one behind, to support one another, and to lead productive lives that are marked by excellence

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