Ten Percent of Us Can Save the Rest!

by Rick Adams

That's right, ten percent of all Black people, by doing just one simple act each month can save the race! Most official sources put the number of people of African descent at 35-40 million living in these United States. For the sake of argument, let us agree on the more conservative figure of 30 million.

Now, let us assume that we have a conscious 10% of all African Americans who are imbued with the spirit of the Million Man and Million Woman marches. This ten percent, numbering 3 million, is ready to engage in committed, meaningful action, designed to improve the quality of life for Black people.

What if in every major Black community a consortium of at least one Black owned newspaper and radio station joined in an on-going public relations effort to promote, from this day forward and forever, a national campaign geared to motivating this conscious and patriotic 10 percent. Utilizing a common theme, logo, and song, the masses are urged to take action.

Of all the many problems Black people cite in formal and casual conversation, the discussion invariably gets around to the fact that we are often individually, and all the time, collectively poor. We are a race dependent on "outsiders" to fund nearly all of our institutions and organizations. We suffer from the "he who pays the piper calls the tune" syndrome. What problem could not significantly be addressed with the proper application of resources?

The National Black United Fund (NBUF) is an organization that has been in existence for about 20 years. It operates in 17 states, with 21 affliates. NBUF's are in major cities such as; Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Kansas City, Memphis, and Philadelphia. The organization conducts fundraising efforts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. NBUF can be contributed to through combined federal campaigns and payroll deductions. In a recent year a total of $12 million was collected.

What if the media consortiums mentioned above, promoted the idea of the conscious 10%, 3 million strong, contributing monthly to the National Black United Fund?

Let us daydream for a moment. Three million of us begin contributing just $10 per month to the NBUF. That would amount to $30 million per month, $360 million per year, and in ten years an astounding 3.6 billion dollars! With the magic of compounded interest, in ten years time, the kitty could easily double to over 7 billion dollars. Moreover, many of us could afford to give much more.

An organized national effort to support the development of the social organizational infrastructure of the Black community would bring dramatic results. The national Black community could target 6 initiatives that would revolutionize our communities. Six possible initiatives to be funded are;

1) Family Support Centers. These centers would teach life skills such as parenting, nutrition, personal finance, and conflict resolution. The epidemic of single and teenaged parents could be greatly aided by such programs.

2) Day and Senior Care Centers. These centers would meet a current need and ease a burden on our families, providing vital services to two crucial populations.

3) Community Health Centers. These centers would provide coverage for the millions of our people with inadequate or no health care coverage.

4) Freedom Schools. These schools would be independent and alternative institutions that would teach our young people reading, writing, arithmetic, computers science, Black history, and life skills. They would also offer rites of passage programs, day and summer camps.

5) Community Based Organizations. These funds would be used to support the operating and salary costs for grass roots, capacity building advocacy groups. The guiding principle would be to "pay our people to work 24/7 on behalf of the race."

6) Endowments. These funds would be used to establish and support existing think tanks, Black Studies departments, foundations, and college chairs for Black scholars.

This plan does not require an unattainable level of unity. It would require only one of every 10 African Americans, and a relative handful of media organizations. The NBUF already exists, a little organization and the faith and commitment of the conscious tenth is all we need.

Ten Percent of Us Can Save the Rest! by Rick Adams

© Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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