Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

Crimes Against Blacks Demand Consequences, Says Black Is Back Coalition

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

We must build a movement to win power in our own hands.”

According to the Black is Back Coalition for Peace, Social Justice and Reparations, which holds its national conference this weekend in New York’s Harlem, the recent “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial sent a clear message that it’s open season on Black people in the United States. But, how can that be so in the second decade of the 21st century, more than two generations after passage of laws that that were supposed to make African Americans full citizens, and with a man of African descent in the White House? Obviously, Black people are not effectively wielding power in the United States – certainly not in their own defense. Otherwise, why all this impotent rage at an unjust system that criminalizes African Americans as a group and allows police – and even civilians – to shoot Blacks down like dogs?

There will be more and more Trayvon Martins and more Sean Bells and Ramarley Grahams until we as a people are able to deliver some kind of consequence,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black is Back Coalition. He’s talking about “consequences that will force the system to respond to the needs that we have in our communities” and to redress the harms that have been done to Black people. This means “taking control of our own agenda,” because, says Yeshitela, “the system won’t stop acting towards us the way it does unless it has to pay some kind of consequence.”

Crimes against Black people cry out for consequences, all across the country. In New York, members of Ramarley Graham’s family will participate in the Black is Back Coalition conference, at St. Mary’s Church, in Harlem, August 17 and 18. Only last week, a Bronx grand jury refused to indict the policeman who shot the unarmed18-year-old to death in the bathroom of his own home. It is up to Black people to decide what the consequences of such crimes must be – otherwise, Black folk’s enemies will become even bolder.

Isolated individuals and groups cannot possibly impose consequences on Power.”

We must build a movement to win power in our own hands,” says the literature for the Black is Back Coalition conference. Movement building is what the coalition is all about; it is the reason organizations that were already engaged in struggle came together to fashion a working coalition in which Black people of various political stripes united to fight for common goals. Omali Yeshitela, who is a founder of the Uhuru Movement, puts it this way: “The Black Is Back Coalition challenges the notion that I can be in my own little corner, with my own little issue and, somehow, forge ahead by myself.” Isolated individuals and groups cannot possibly impose consequences on Power. Only Black people wielding their own, organized power can do that.

The greatest diluter of potential Black political power is the Democratic Party, which is financed and controlled by bankers and the rich, who then stifle independent Black political action through their networks of bought-and-for Black operatives and politicians. Most members of the Black Is Back Coalition believe what’s needed is a final break from the Democratic Party, and a real struggle to achieve independent Black organization. The best place to start is with an already existing Coalition that proudly proclaims “Black Is Back.”

For more information on the Black Is Back Coalition national conference, go to their website at, or call 202.681.7040.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20130814_gf_BiBConf.mp3
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