The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 28, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CHARLESTON — Time to stop dreaming; start acting

When most people are asked about the March on Washington in 1963, all they know about is Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

There were nine other speakers that day. The march organizers called for decent housing, adequate and integrated education, a federal jobs program and a national minimum wage of over $13 in today’s (2013) dollars. The title of the march was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, another little-known fact.

In the last 50 years, black folks have organized more marches than I care to remember. Should we still be doing the same thing (marching, protesting) to highlight the same issues and to convince the same entrenched government and society to accept us as “equals”???

What ground are we standing on as we look forward to the next March on Washington in August 2013? If history is any indicator, blacks will spend millions of dollars on gasoline, hotels, airlines, restaurants, clothing, liquor, etc., attending the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

 As Booker T. Washington said, “Beneath politics, beneath education, even beneath religion, lies economics.” I would add beneath marches lie profit. Our marches leave a residue of profit for many corporations.

We march while others profit. We count people “at” our marches, while others count profits “from” our marches.

We should be marching to our businesses and supporting them with our dollars. We should be marching to our banks and depositing our funds in them, marching to our schools to educate our youth, marching through our “hoods” and turning them back into neighborhoods. Let’s march to our churches, masajid, civic and social organizations and form Collective Empowerment Group Chapters.

A march is an event, not a movement. Our freedom will come not by an event but through an institution. An event can be the stimulus for institution-building, which will take us to true freedom.

We blacks have allowed ourselves to be duped into believing that someone else will take care of us, in spite of the fact that for over 400 years there has been no real indication of that being the case.

Let’s start more businesses that can grow and create jobs for our people.

Pool your resources, locally and nationally, invest in one another, trust and support one another.

It’s time to stop dreaming. It’s time for action.


Adib Aqeel