You are the key to solutions!


— With as much meaningless and non-redeeming information being discussed on radio and TV among black folks, I often wonder if we even want to hear solutions to our problems, much less do anything to help solve them. It seems we want to spend most of our time posing silly questions and discussing issues that lead to yet another problem. It is apparent, and obvious in some circles, that many black folks simply want mindless, no-reason-to-think, and no-reason-to work topics of discussion in their public and personal discourse. These brothers and sisters should take a new look at the word, “solutions.”

The most important letter in that word is the “u.” It is amazing how many of our people love to talk about our problems and, not as often, the solutions to those problems and never raise a hand or spend a dollar to solve the problems about which they speak. All the rhetoric in the world will not solve our problems. We must be willing to work on solutions.

There is a role for each one who wants to work on solutions. However, too many of us sit back and say what needs to be done without coming to the realization that the “u” in solutions means “you.” The word, “solutions” is speaking directly to you; it is asking what are “u” willing to do to effect positive change for black people?

We often hear brothers and sisters say what “we need” to do, but many of them aren’t doing one thing to help achieve what they say, “we need” to do. If we would simply charge ourselves, as well as to others, to get to work, the “u” in solutions would take on a more personal aura. Standing on the sidelines and pointing out what Black folks need to do, without bringing your resources to the table, increases the load on those doing the work.

The 20/80 Rule says 20 percent of the people in a group do 80 percent of the work. We do not have the luxury to comply with that rule within our movements and organizations. Our issues require an “all hands on deck” approach. There is something each of us can do, but the first step is to look at the “u” in the solutions we propose.

I used to teach in my business planning class that ideas are a dime a dozen; everyone’s idea is the best thing to come along but, unfortunately, those ideas go to the graveyard with the person because he or she never moves to the action required to bring the idea to fruition. Economic freedom takes work and it takes sacrifice, as Bev Smith said on her show one evening as she interviewed a young rising star named Marcus Jackson from Philadelphia.

Jackson heads the State of Pennsylvania contingent of the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors (OMCBV&C), and he spoke eloquently, coherently and practically about the need for black folks to consider their individual contribution to our quest for political and economic empowerment.

Bev Smith was obviously taken by the young man as she offered her response by first agreeing with Jackson’s contentions and then by telling her audience that his is the example they should emulate. She said, yes, it’s hard work, it does require sacrifice even to the extent of not getting paid for your time, but if we are ever going to end up where we say we need to be in this nation, those sacrifices must be made— on an individual basis on behalf of the collective. Right on, Bev Smith!

Marcus Jackson, 31 years of age, and others in his age group within the OMCBV&C, are leading the way to true empowerment, uncompromising in their political and economic positions, and willing to go that extra mile and spend that extra dollar toward that end. They proudly declare “I am one of the million!” and they understand the work they must do and the sacrifices they must make for our people, just as 32-year-old David Walker, 36-year-old Malcolm X, 33-year-old Martin Luther King, and 30-year-old Marcus Garvey did, as he set out for the U.S. to meet with Booker T. Washington and take up the economic empowerment mantle.

The “u” in the solutions most of us speak about is the key to our advancement, to achieving our goals, and empowering ourselves. It all begins with “u.” The OMCBV&C, with members in 31 states, is the key organizational movement that is doing the work necessary to move us beyond the problems and closer to impactful, life changing solutions. It’s not yet at the one million mark, so there is still room for “u.”

Go to and read the information; if “u” find something “u” like, sign up and add your “u” to the solutions to our problems.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for black people. He can be reached through his website: