Time for black fraternities and sororities to step up

— Remember the scene from “New Jack City” when Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) told Scotty (Ice-T), “This ain’t personal; this is business?”

And at the end of the movie, Scotty said to Nino, “This is personal,” as he proceeded to give him a beatdown. Well, this article is both personal and business. It’s a call to the Alphas, Omegas, Kappas, Sigmas, Deltas, AKAs, Zetas, Thetas, Iotas, known as the “Divine Nine,” and the fraternity I was apart of back in the 1960’s at North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University), “Groove Phi Groove.”

The latent collective power within these organizations is mind-boggling. Their members are conscientious, which is demonstrated by their friendship and loyalty to one another. They rally around their members during crises; they support one another when they get married and have children; they work together, locally and nationally, on community projects across this country. They even formed a national collective organization, The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.; the group’s stated purpose and mission is “Unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.”

I especially like the part about “mutual interests.” I know it’s a hard question to answer, based on our individualistic and proprietary approach to solving many of our problems, but what are the mutual interests among not only sororities and fraternities, but all black organizations? Is there one thing that all of us can and should do together without compromising our various missions and such? I

believe there are several things we can do together, but reality tells me that all black people will never do any one thing together. So in light of that reality, we must come up with something that is simple yet powerful and will demonstrate our collective resolve, not just to the world, but to ourselves and our children. Keep in mind I said, “Simple.”

On the business side of things, this is a call— a challenge— to each member of the abovementioned black, proud, historic and venerable organizations to purchase at least one bag of Sweet Unity Farms Tanzanian Gourmet Coffee.

The coffee is grown by family co-ops founded by Jackie Robinson’s son, David, twenty years ago. April 15, 2017 was the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball; we can break the economic barrier by collectively propelling his son’s company to unimagined heights by purchasing his coffee. In case you didn’t know, Jackie Robinson went to work for a coffee company when he left baseball.

On the personal side, black folks are taking an Ice T beatdown like Wesley Snipes received, only ours is an economic beatdown, much of which we are doing to ourselves by not supporting one another more than we do presently. What could be more personal than family? Again, one simple solution is for our black sororities and fraternities, comprising millions of members around the world, to take this challenge personally and buy at least one bag of David Robinson’s coffee, a fitting tribute to his father’s legacy. By doing so, the world would witness a black-owned company, operating in Africa and the U.S., become a billion dollar firm virtually overnight, all because a group of conscientious black folks individually spent a very small amount of money on a black owned product. A veritable, black economic renaissance.

After accomplishing that simple goal, we could repeat it hundreds of times with other black companies, thus, creating larger firms that have so much business they would have to hire more employees. In the words of the soul singing group, Atlantic Star, “Am I dreaming?” Maybe I am, but it’s a great dream and I pray it will come true.

From what I observe among our social organizations, members of sororities and fraternities are the most conscientious; therefore, I am calling on the presidents of the Divine Nine to spread the word to their members to take this simple action step toward economic empowerment.

In addition, I want all HBCU student associations, Greek Letter organizations, and individual students to insist that their cafeterias serve Sweet Unity Farms Coffee. Now that’s really a no-brainer, isn’t it?

As I said, this is both personal and business, and I truly believe that our black sororities and fraternities can make it happen. With a little bit of money from a lot of people, we can accomplish a very personal and business milestone, one that our youth can look upon as an example of blacks utilizing our latent power rather allowing it to sit on the shelf and eventually expire.

Order your coffee at www.iamoneofthemillion.com (Click on the products tab.) No excuses, y’all. If you don’t drink coffee, give it as a gift to someone who does. C’mon, let’s do this.

James Clingman is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for black people. His latest book, “Black Dollars Matter! Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense,” is available at: www.Blackonomics.com.

What you need to know about the NAACP’s war on charter schools

— The call for a moratorium on charter schools by the NAACP is a case of “Throwing the baby out with the bath water.” While most black folks are concentrating on Hillary and Donald, the largest and oldest “Colored” organization approved an internal resolution calling for a halt to the “expansion of charter schools” until those schools meet criteria set forth by the NAACP.

The NAACP lacks the power to enforce its resolution, but its call for this draconian measure does come with the familiar stench of other positions they have taken— and not taken— because of political and, of course, economic reasons, the latter of which seems to be the driving force behind this latest move.

One of this country’s leading educators, Dr. Steve Perry, who has operated charter schools for years and recently took over the new charter school opened by Sean Combs, Capital Prep Harlem, in New York City, had this to say: “The NAACP national headquarters has received a significant amount of money from the teachers’ union. The only organizations to call for a moratorium on charter schools in particular, because they are non-union, are the teachers’ unions.”

Perry went on to call the resolution, “absurd.” He further stated, “They couldn’t be more out of touch if they ran full speed in the other direction…the national [NAACP] is out of touch even with their own chapters.”

Shavar Jeffries, Democrats for Education Reform, said, “Indiscriminately targeting all charter schools…while ignoring underperforming district schools undermines the quality and integrity of our entire education system. We should be fixing what’s broken and expanding what works, not pre-empting the choices of [black] parents…”

Calling for a moratorium is indicative of the NAACP’s disregard for existing charter schools established, funded and operated by black people. The use of scare tactics, such as “privatization,” under the guise of concern for students, is either disingenuous or ignorant. Charter schools are about creating better options for education— they provide a choice.

I know and have spoken with several esteemed black educators and operators of charter schools. Amefika Geuka, who founded and ran the Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba School in West Palm Beach, Florida for 16 years, was the largest black employer of black people in the county. He used his own funds to sustain the school and fought resistance by the district to keep his school opened despite the success of his graduates in college. One former student is now in law school and is the President of the Student Bar Association.

Another long-time friend and charter school founder is Kwa David Whitaker, an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, who has managed as many as twelve schools. He shared with me the following: “It is the traditional system that has destroyed our children and nation. Putting this intense focus on charter schools is only an attempt to keep the focus off of the continuing ineptitude of our nation’s traditional public school system.”

Black parents spoke out against the NAACP’s decision by protesting during its convention. Roland Martin, News One Anchor, questioned NAACP Washington Bureau Chief Hillary Shelton on whether the NAACP had invited any of those parents to speak or if it had called upon black charter school leaders to give their input before the resolution was passed. After asking three times without getting an answer, Martin answered it himself: “NO.”

Music mogul, Kenny Gamble, who is now a leading force in economic development and owner of eleven charter schools in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, has invested millions into educating our youth. He shared his experience with me and cited two factors in charter school operations: Academics and economics. My question: Why aren’t more blacks engaged in ownership and control when it comes to the education of our own children?

The NAACP’s vote against charter schools is what Harold Cruse called “Non-Economic Liberalism.” Just as the NAACP will not allow its branches to purchase buildings for their offices and meeting space, via a clause in its original charter (no pun intended) written by whites who founded the association, according to Dr. Khalid Al Mansour’s book, “Betrayal by any Other Name,” it now comes out against blacks starting and controlling charter schools, which would add to our economic progress. I guess NAACP leaders realize that

because whites started the NAACP with their dollars, whites can also end it by withholding their dollars.

The Wall Street Journal noted, it’s a “disgrace” that the NAACP’s idea of “advancement” is now to advance the interests of the unionized public school monopoly over the interests of their supposed constituents— black students and their parents.

The NAACP must stop mimicking what it did in 1909 and support the new paradigm under which “black” people operate. One charter school owner said, “The NAACP has outgrown its name; the only ‘Colored’ people left appear to be concentrated in the NAACP leadership.