rachel ghost

Ms. Rachel Araya  (pictured right) is a guest columnist sharing her skills and talents with the FathersFootprints’ readers. For a topic that was considered by many to be either too “taboo” to debate or simply too irrelevant to discuss, Rachel has convinced us there is more to be said about the Black Panther Party’s 10-point program.  Consider this part 2 of a 3 part series on this subject. 

 

During the Black Power Movement, racism presented many dangers which were both   stark and terrifying. We should not be surprised that a society that once legalized slavery was and is faced with race rage. In a long continuum of risks faced and survived, we have internalized this rage (aimed at everyone) with dire consequences. While the ten point program seems very desirable, the attainability of all ten points seems very bleak right now even with a black president. It has been proven in the past that universal black militance cannot get us what we want for our people. The goal should be to eliminate racism altogether so that President Obama can make it possible to reach all ten goals on the list and add more goals as well. Unfortunately, due to the length constraint of this blog, I can only touch on 4 of the 10 demands from the Black Panther Party.

 

First and foremost, the Black Panther’s two demands about wanting education that teaches us our true history and that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society for our people were very reasonable. Without a doubt, education is the key to ending racism and attaining all of the goals on the list and then some. Not only does education enlighten people but it also teaches people how to be empathetic and strong. We dismantled de jure segregation because we were a strong people who had educated leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Seale, and Huey Newton.  Since education enlightens people on the evils of racism, we need to produce more educated leaders to dismantle de facto discrimination at its institutionalized foundation. Yes, I am talking about the U.S. Constitution. How can the U.S. Constitution truly be free of discrimination when it uses legal terminology that pretends to be civilized as it obscures the racist realities penetrating America? America founded its laws with color being the sole determinant for who was able to enjoy full citizenship with all of the accompanying rights and privileges. Today, President Obama is investing billions of dollars in the educational system in order for us to regain lost ground. A great education is now available to all Americans. Hopefully, in this land of so-called freedom, our education will teach all of us how to truly be free.

constitution

Next, The Black Panther’s demand about obtaining completely free healthcare for all black and oppressed people is a very desirable goal. However, this socialist idea of completely free health care is not attainable without a cost. While I agree that free health care is a human right, I also know that nothing in life is truly free. For example, Canada’s “free” health care system has many hidden costs. The hidden costs are the poor quality of health care and the long wait for medical attention in queues along with the fact that the citizen’s taxes are really paying for health care. A sweeping socialization of the United State’s health care system may not be what America needs right now because it may very well make us a poor people, and it may turn patients into victims. For example, our loved ones can die because they were too far down on a waiting list.  Further, we are already on the right track with President Obama’s new health care reform. President Obama said on February 24, 2009: “I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” Health care reform should reduce long-term growth of health care costs; protect families from bankruptcy or debt; guarantee choice of doctors and health plans; invest in prevention and wellness; improve patient safety and quality of care; assure affordable, quality health coverage; maintain coverage when you change or lose a job; and end barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Health care may not be completely free under the Obama Administration but health care reform sur’ sounds good to me.

 

Finally, The Black Panther’s demand about wanting an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of black people, people of color and all oppressed people in America is very important if we want to keep the peace and avoid race riots (uprisings). A scrutinizing look into the past exposes the truth: The truth is Abraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves. The slaves freed themselves because there was always resistance, which was demonstrated by all of the uprisings in the South. Lincoln had no choice but to free the slaves with all of the bloody uprisings and the Civil War. African Americans have proven through their resilient struggles against legal sanctions such as slavery, Crop Lien Laws, and Jim Crow Laws that we needed to break away from the oppressive social order in order to thrive as human beings with full citizenship and not the deemed 3/5 human beings sanctioned in the U.S. Constitution.  Racism has systematically guided the lawmakers and law-enforcers in America. Even with the passage of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, the laws were designed for the majority’s benefit and to the detriment of African Americans. The idea of defending ourselves against police brutality and the murder of black people, people of color, and all oppressed people is very scary. Since the police specialize in unsolicited attacks of black people, people of color, and oppressed people, the Constitutional right to bear arms and self defense is very important in protecting us from racist police officers. However, if we protect ourselves with weapons, the violence will, undoubtedly, dramatically increase. President Obama and his Administration need to implement a more progressive and, perhaps, a more peaceful plan to end unsolicited racial attacks against our people.

 barack cool

In the end, the skin color of our president is inconsequential. What is of consequence are the Acts that Obama and a democratic Congress passes in order to eradicate racism in America. And guess what? So far so good: If it isn’t love it’s in the neighborhood. All we needed was the right leadership. I, for one, think we need more spiritual leadership. And I thank God that our president is a spiritual man. We must be careful not to let our fears (derived from our past) grow bigger than our faith. On a personal note, I’m not a “hatemonger”, and I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that we are a healthy, educated, spiritual people who know the value of self-reliance and black pride. Malcolm X once said, “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” There it is! Finally, I’m finished with my trite political platitude at exactly ten o’clock on a Friday night. With that said, I’m going to bed.  Thanks Damon for this opportunity.

Peace & Love,

 Rachel Araya

 

Born Rachel Diane Frederick (Araya is her Eritrean name) in Detroit in 1969. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with distinction, and the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. Early in her my academic career, she developed a love for writing, which is how she spends most of her time. Rachel is currently working on a book about the human condition and the spiritual (we can’t give away too much). When she is not writing, she enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, and studying for the Michigan Bar Exam.

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Comments
  1. Stef says:

    It is refreshing that you all have the wherewithal to address these issues. I am now a faithful reader of this blog. This stuff is different. Please keep them coming. Great piece Rachel and Damon.

    Stef

  2. Interesting article–We know that with the election of the first Black President would come down turn in race based politics in America. Obama seeks to distance himself from the label of “Black President” with this he will avoid a lot of decisions that will be said to help “only” the Black community. It is up to the bloggers and other influencers to keep the pressure on him to address Minority issues. Good work!

    Here is a post from my site on a Afro America Cop in NY was was shot last week by a white cop while pursuing a suspect. I think it relates to your Police Brutality premise:
    http://www.urbanthinking.net/profiles/blogs/black-cop-shot-in-the-back-by

  3. matt says:

    Rachel, that was very well written! Though you brought out some very good points, I do not agree with the way the nation is going as a whole. Obama is turning this nation toward socialism, just as we see in Cuba, China and other parts of the world. One must ask, why do people try to get over to the USA all the time? They want to get out from oppression. This is a dangerous man, and if not stopped he will be just like Chavez or Castro and the America we grew up in could end up like Germany when the Nazi party came to power.

  4. Rev. Naz says:

    Rachel,

    Great blog, I agree with you on many points. Also, I am a fan and supporter of the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program, as I had a very close family member that was a member of the Detroit Black Panther Party.

    As you may know I am a minister of the Gospel and pastor of a church in the Chicago area. I recently graduated from seminary with a Master of Divinity in Urban Ministry. I mention these facts not to yank my own chain but to set the foundation for my next comments.

    In my studies I spent a great deal of time concentrating on the Social Gospel. What is the Social Gospel? The Social Gospel is the “true” gospel of Jesus Christ. The Social Gospel does not focus most of it’s attention on the spiritual realities of Jesus as “Lord and Savior,” even though these titles are keenly important to our relationship with Jesus (if you are Christian), but the Social Gospel illustrates Jesus’ concern with the overall well-being of all the inhabitants of earth.

    That being said, all forces that seek to oppress us as a people in whatever manner is selected at the time, miseducation, lack of healthcare, or police brutality, Jesus came to deliver us from such oppressive forces. I have always admired the Black Party for their courage in intitating free health clinics, the Headstart program, free breakfast programs for children, and sickle cell testing and treatment facilities, so it is difficult for me to be angry at the socialist political foundation they embraced. Particularly when we can look at any religious system (including Christianity), and notice a call to be concerned about the care and maintainance of our brothers and sisters on a equal basis. Treat others as you desire to be treated!!!!

    For anyone to call President Obama socialist is simply political posturing and mean-spirited. What they need to call him is Christian…..in the true sense of the word…..being concerned, like Jesus, about the welfare of all his brothers and sisters.

    Bless you Rachel, keep writing, and big ups for supporting some of God’s real men and women, the Black Panther Party.
    Rev. Naz

    • Kim says:

      Rev. Naz,

      Liked what you said about “Social Gospel”. I am a friend of Alton Gunn…he told me about this blog. VERY COOL!

  5. Kerry says:

    A friend recommended this site. I’m glad she did. I have to go through and read all of these posts. Very refreshing to hear from educated black folks. Are you from the D.C. area by chance? If so, there is a goup that meets on these topics every other sunday.

  6. Alton B. Gunn says:

    Rachel,

    Your article was awesome. You hit it on the nail. I’d just like to add, that the spirit of the Black Panther’s is not dead. It never died. It just has been under exposed like positive Hip Hop song. Let’s not forget how we all use to “shake our grove thangs” at 3rd Eye parties. We use to grub/drink until we were euphoric at picnics, bowl a thons, scholarship dinner and golf outing in the late 90 and early part of this millennium with Third Eye Incorporated. The worst kept secret was where did that money go? What was the actual mission,vision and function of Third Eye Incorporated? Please allow me to expond on that movement that I and other dedicated much of our lives to….

    First of all: It has been stated and over debated; in light of the conditions affecting African-American communities, positive role models and proactive community outlets are essential. These outlets should be designed to promote a sense of ownership, pride and unity in the community. Extracurricular education and community support increase graduation rates and sexual responsibility. Collaborative efforts between the local government, entrepreneurial entities, churches, schools, citizens and other non-profit agencies evoke social and economic revitalization. Economically prosperous communities have less drug abuse, gang activities and lower homicide rates largely because the residents are employed and more productive. Productive communities manifest citizens with greater literacy and higher self-esteem. These communities also must provide the youth with employment opportunities and direction. Third Eye Incorporated was dedicated to promoting positive changes to create more socially productive, economically prosperous, proactively unified and culturally progressive communities for future generations.

    Third Eye Incorporated was a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization, formed in 1995 that promoted Unity In The Community; The Mentoring of Youth; The Acquisition of Land (for community enhancement purposes) and Economic Revitalization. We were a grass roots organization whose mission reflects spirituality and our commitment to uplifting people. The community based nature of our program and consistent adult interaction with the youth created an environment of collective learning and positive unified interaction. This unified interaction was based on understanding, progression, health, fitness and cultural education. The constant presence of positive Third Eye volunteers and role models also helped our program and the community to grow. Third Eye’s unique African-Centered approach enlightens participants on their relevance in the world, making them more self-sufficient and allowing them to prosper. Our philanthropics efforts culmunated in $1,000,000 being infused into the Detroit community.

    Third Eye Incorporated promoted Unity In The Community by working in tandem with citizens and municipal authorities to promote a clean and safe living environment. We facilitated collaborative efforts with other community based non-profit organizations, block clubs and neighborhood improvement associations to provide programs for youth and general community enhancement projects. We provided the community with professional development, career awareness, self-reliance and job placement seminars and programs. We will also initiate health awareness workshops at local schools, churches and recreation centers. These workshops enhanced the community awareness of ailments such as Tuberculosis, HIV, AIDS, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and Hepatitis

    A key element of our program was mentoring. We served as positive role models for the program participants. Third Eye members had professional experience in education, coaching, medicine, law, engineering, consulting, sales, promoting, politics, constructions, security, machinery, real estate, investments, marketing, management, non-profit corporations and entrepreneurship. We had Executive Board meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. All members were encouraged to attend the Executive Board meetings. One on one mentoring and tutoring took place perpetually. We also met on the first and third Saturdays of each month, for our group mentoring sessions. Food was provided at each mentoring session for the youth. Our mentoring program promotes health awareness, character building, job skills, computer skills, life decision-making, field trips, recreational and sports activities. Our educational strategies promoted developing knowledge of self, a sense of pluralism and unified progression.

    In addition to the Tuesday and Saturday program, we will took the youth to camp where they learned about nature and survival. They also bonded and advanced in their “Rites Of Passage.” The camps out provided the youth with opportunities to participate in activities like horseback riding, swimming, archery, canoeing, hiking, tent pitching, fire safety and outdoor cooking. Our calendar also consisted of Health Awareness Seminars, Gang Violence Seminars, Drug and Sex Education, A Voters Registration Drive, and numerous visits to local churches and other places of worship to unify our support of one another. We usually scheduled two sports related field trips, two culturally relevant field trips, a civic field trip and a science field trip each year.

    The youth that participated in our program have an excellent opportunity to gain valuable knowledge of their culture, history and community while developing athletic skills and learning essential lessons that will teach them survival. They learn these lessons from a variety of positive role models. We incorporated more participation from the neighborhood and other community support groups. The positive interaction of youth in athletic competition and other unified activities enhanced their understanding of teamwork to achieve a goal as well as helping to develop their interpersonal skills.

    As we expanded, the sporting component of the mentoring program promoted structure and positive competition. It provided perpetual fun and healthy outlets. The program will included a basketball, softball, health education, self-defense/martial arts classes and a bowling league for the youth. A very important standard, for Third Eye, was for to operate the program with quality equipment. Third Eye rented sports facilities for league and special programs. These programs consisted of volunteers that will assist with mentoring, coaching, managing and support staff. Participants became more mentally stimulated and gained physical fitness. Awards and Recognitions were given to program participants at the events end.

    The youth continued to have opportunities to develop athletic skills while receiving valuable life lessons from positive role models. These role models came from a variety of stations in life. Most of the participation in the program came from volunteers in the very communities where the program is taking place. We continued to receive administrative and volunteer support from Third Eye members and other organizations/leaders in the Detroit community. Each member’s vocation, interests, resources, goals, focus and commitment continued to afford us great success and recognition. We received assistance from a host of consultants, specialist, tutors and trainers.

    Third Eye strongly promoted the Acquisition of Land for community enhancement purposes. We had a headquarters in the urban community that served as a community center to facilitate our programs. We strived to develop land that we acquired into small public parks in order to provided positive activities for youth. Our goal was to transform some of the vacant properties we acquire into community projects that will evolve into cultural and educational centers. We also looked to provide low-income housing for single parent households, senior citizens and mentally and physically disabled citizens. We acquired this land or property in conjunction with special programs like Project SAVED, HUD, tax auctions and mortgage auctions.

    We continuously promoted Economic Revitalization by facilitating financial planning seminars for all residents of the community. We worked with local businesses to initiate economically interdependent networks. We also assisted community businesses to reciprocate support funding into the neighborhoods of their core supporters. We assisted youth in gaining experience and learning trades though employment opportunities provided through our future Economic Revitalization Initiatives. We were committed to the evocation of entrepreneur activities, in the communities were we work. Third Eye unified the community by educating youth, on economically progressive activities, as they matriculate into adulthood. Numerous businesses were enhance with our assistance.

    I wish we could have done more but we gave it our all. We didn’t just through parties as was the most common misconception. We were in our own way THE BLACK PATHER OF THE 90’s.

    Ultimately, society must change. We must start by restoring pride and responsibility in our youth and our community by promoting volunteerism, physical fitness, inter-generational relationships and community service. Our biggest challenge is to build our children’s self esteem, morals, values and understanding of the world. Making the community self-sufficient is a monumental task. It has been said “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” The promotion of Unity In The Community, The Mentoring Of Youth, The Acquisition Of Land and Economic Revitalization by Third Eye Incorporated will be a nice sized bite out of the elephant. We must be committed to promoting these principals.

    For one second I would like to reflect on our mission statement.

    In submission to God and recognition of our ancestral legacy; We pledge our collective vocation the unification of indigenous Africans by reinvesting in our community; Developing and maintaining our economic base and land; Promoting self esteem and instilling values in our youth to assist them in making ethical decisions to affirm their unlimited potential.

    Before we can achieve true affirmation, I feel that it is important that we uplift our youth in the following areas:

    Entrepreneurship- to promote, foster the study of and implement entrepreneurial activities for youth and the general community. The greater focus must be to evoke community & economic development as well as initiating international trade with students from other countries.

    Pluralism- to expose the youth to field trips, local, national & international travel, designed to promote positive outlets and educational activities that enhance their scholastic since of academia and enhance their pluralistic outlook of contemporary society. Sport, science & technology, scouting camp will be key.

    Scholarships- to plan and implement student scholarship programs in conjunctions with churches, small businesses, corporation, the government and non-profit entities. The great focus will be the development of a Endowment Fund to support these scholarships in the future.

    Health- to promote healthy living regimen that promote physical fitness, proper dieting and other healthy practices, while exposing youth to medicine, dentistry & science. The greater focus must be to provide real life examples for youth to mirror themselves after while they establish career road maps and receive health screening, where they otherwise likely wouldn’t.

    Technology- to educate student on information technology to shrink the digital divide, by providing computer courses and business classes in addition to running their own business on-site. The focus must be on High-speed internet access with up to date technological devices, a broadband infrastructure that is flexible for both direct-connected and wireless devise, fax, phones, whiteboards, video, literature, software, etc. Ultimately we will provide students with an operating systems so that they may perform office applications, set up their own HTML structure, web browser, practice web trafficking (via internet), graphic design, internet ethics, site maintenance evolving technology and multimedia application upon completion of our course. These donated, recycled PC’s will continue to be donated by generous corporation and help to make our youth more holistically competitive.

    Mentorship (Exam Training, Tutoring & One on One Mentoring)- To motivate young men to develop themselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and culturally while encouraging them to cultivate their achievement potential & academic goals. Also equip young men with the skills and fortitude to resist engaging in negative behavior (ie. Truancy, gang affiliation, drug abuse, etc) and promote positive behavior, in an effort to reduce the number of drop outs by exposing youth to positive role model who serve as mentors, tutor and advisor. Additionally, develop leadership skills that will enable them to assume proactive roles in their families, communities and society as a whole. The thematic outline that we will focus on includes Self Esteem/Purpose, Goal Setting (Planning), Cultural Enrichment, Character Development, Economic Independence, Heath Awareness, Leadership, Decision Maker, Conflict Resolution & Life skills & Job Skills (Career Planning).

    Ultimately, we must facilitate educational enchantment that promotes youth academics achievement in standardized exam preparation training and skill building in the areas of English, Mathematics, Reading, Writing and Science reasoning. Finally our goal is to provide elementary, junior, high school students and youth adults with superior quality A.C.T., S.A.T., M.E.A.P.7, P.S.A.T. AND G.E.D. exam preparation workshops, private tutoring, scholarship and career counseling, to maximize their opportunities to enter a collegiate institution or skilled work/trade environment after graduation.

    Sportsmanship- Provide sports programs designed to promote athletics and build comradery. Our goal is to continue the successfully run softball, t-ball, baseball, basketball, soccer and golf programs for youth. Sports help to build character and force youth work proactively as a team under the guidance of positive role models.

    Employability- Provide student with opportunities to connect professional career aspirations to individuals in the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors of business. Corporate citizens would be in constant interaction with students, serving as the gateway to bridge day-to-day activities of the business world, with desired practices that youth would start developing immediately. Similar to the impact of “career day” in schools, this perpetual interaction will be key in exposing youth to “real world” success stories and allowing them to visualize, conceptualize and initiate proactive behavior.

    Special Events- Provide youth with administrative guidance in planning events such as technology conference or youth convention. Additionally, we must bring back a BLACK college classic to Ford Field. This will give youth opportunities to organize large and participate in large progressive activities with their peers. This builds self-esteem and unity for our future generations of leaders.

  7. Kelly T. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. I agree with you Rachel 100%. I do know that education is a very very important factor here. I also know that alot has to start at home. We can have a great education system but without the parents getting truly involved and making sure their children achieve to the best of their ability then the education is a waste. Alot of folks don’t know or care about what their child is doing in school. It has to start at home; parents need to educate their children on the importance of getting a good education and how education can make a difference in their future. Yes we need more educated Leaders we also need to be more educated ourselves as well so that we can speak out on issues that are effecting us. Alot of our youth don’t understand racism nor do they care about much of anything.

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