Editorial #2 – We Need A Seat At The Table

“If you don’t have a seat at the table you are probably on the menu”.

Back in the day when we didn’t have many choices but to serve, we were told to build a table. So we built a table and some chairs. When we were done we were sent back to our place. We never sat at the table.

It was at the table where so much was decided. Our futures were decided at that table. War and peace was decided at that table. That table saw and decided the path the country would follow. But we never sat at that table. We served it. We heard everything that went on, whether we understood it or not.

But we never had a seat.

Come up to today and there are many tables where we still don’t have a seat.

Do you realize there are thousands of boards, commissions, tribunals, committees, authorities, regulatory bodies, courts, chambers etc. all over the state? Most of these we have never heard anything about. But these bodies dole out millions, nay billions of dollars every year and we don’t know what they’re doing or who they are giving money to.

One thing we know, our communities are not getting any better financially. They are spending $300 million on renovating the state house while saying they will give Trenton $18 million for various projects. Imagine if they spent that $300 million on Trenton and the $18 million on the state house how much different out city would look.

We need seats at the tables where decisions are made as to who get these public funds. I was at a New Jersey Economic Development Authority meeting a few months back. They gave out about $100 million that day. But none to any Black faces.

Sometimes there a African Americans on these Boards but I question whether they are there to represent the Black community or do they think they are there to represent the entire state. I want people who will represent and fight to get our communities and our businesses funds to improve our lot.

It doesn’t seem as though the distribution of wealth has come home to us. This has got to change. We pay our just share of taxes to the state coffers. We need to get our just share of wealth coming back to us.

At the moment, we don’t have the businesses and other structures to utilize all the funds due us. But that’s because of past injustices. The injustices have been long and painful. It has to stop.

Our plan is to sit in on every commission and board and authority and court session brought to order in New Jersey. We intend to bring together a mass of volunteers who will spread out and join in every ‘sit-down’ in the state.

We are going to have a seat at the table. It may not be an official seat but we will know what is going on and we will report back to the community who got what and for what. We’ll also say if there were people who looked like us who actually represented us or they were there for the status quo.

Enough is enough. We may get a Democrat for governor in November. If we do I want to know what he is going to do for us. We’ve supported democrats for ages and now it’s time for them to support us with the same fervor.

So if you are tired of being tired we’ll need your help to do this. We have to roll up our sleeves and dig in. We can, we must do this. The future well-being of our children and grandchildren rests with what we do now.

I’m not easy on me and I’m not going to be easy on you. We have a job to do.

Like Michael said, ‘take a look in the mirror and make a change’.

“Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will” Marcus Mosiah Garvey

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