Life’s experiences have forced me to adopt the level of thinking that I have, one which usurps mediocrity and regularly challenges me to avoid maintaining the status quo. This explains why I tackle critical and sometimes controversial key issues, which negatively impact the Black community every day.
Ever so often someone in the Black community asks me the following questions: “Who is our leader?” “Where are our leaders?”
Such questions are telling in more ways than one that are not necessarily apparent on the surface because we do have some folks who are doing their best to keep the community afloat or alive.
According to the Merriam Webster’s lexicon: leader is the one in charge, the person who convinces other people to follow. A great leader inspires confidence in other people and moves them to action. It is my personal belief that when such questions are posed, what people are really and truly asking is where are those self-sacrificing Black men and women who truly embody leadership in its truest sense, of being the one in charge who convinces others to follow them towards a major goal.
Unfortunately, it appears that if such is the definition of leadership the Black community has been victim to what can be called “Hollywood revolution—lights, camera, and action…” where certain people only show up when the press or the television camera is on the scene. Seemingly, no press or publicity equals no Black leader.
Sadly, what is passing for leadership today is the opposite of what the Black Community needs. So the question facing the Black community today as it strives to organize its economic might and political strength is how the issue of leadership should be addressed.
The Black community is currently in need of a unique leadership group that is courageous enough to speak truth to power and working towards a socio-economic society protected by political might.
The Black communities in having no leader or identified leader, each person has his or her individual goal(s) in mind, and are each working their individual way towards their individual something.
First and foremost, from my perspective in considering Black leadership the following qualities/ variables should be present:
• Courage to speak truth to power regardless of the consequences.
• Cooperative and willing to work with other like-minded groups regardless of personality conflicts or personal issues.
• Decisive and willing to stand on the side of right despite how other people or groups feel.
• Goal-oriented leaders must have an understanding of what their goals are.
• Strategic and tactical – leaders must have the ability to formulate and execute plans.
The Quebec inquiry into systemic discrimination and racism is soon to begin hearings, and already it is apparent that the Couillard government does not want the exercise to be transparent. Why isn’t the Black community themselves demanding effective, committed leadership that addresses this problem?
Enough of us have been victims of discrimination, and we cannot lightly dismiss this opportunity to be heard and to have our say in public.
On another note of equally great importance is that in the November 5 municipal elections long-standing community worker Tiffany Callender, running under the banner Team Coderre for Montreal, will attempt to become the city councilor for the Cote-des-Neiges district. It is imperative that Black voters get out in unprecedented numbers to support one of their own. Over the years one of the most pressing and concomitantly depressing problem has been the Black community and its well-known apathy towards voting. Although not readily acknowledged, a vote is not only symbolic of a citizen’s good standing with the country, but also serves as their voice in regards to the country and by extension the province’s political matters.
Failure to participate in the electoral process is in many ways a treasonous self-betrayal and voluntary muting of one’s personal interests regarding wants, needs, and desires as a Canadian citizen.
There is already a disconnection between City Hall and the Black community. Currently, Montreal only has one Black among its 65 city councilors, Franz Benjamin. He represents the district of Saint-Michel and is Chairman of the City Council. A familiar saying goes thus: If you are not at the table, you may be on the menu. If you do not participate in the process, then do not take every occasion to complain about the state of affairs in Montreal.
While the community waits for the emergence of some semblance of leadership, our unified action based on explicit common ground are indispensable for our future success and survival. According to Claude Anderson in his book: Powernomics: The Natural Plan to Empower Black America, “In any competitive environment, an individual or group who is non-competitive is sure to become extinct.”
Enough said. And certainly, enough written.
Aleuta—The struggle continues.