There was a time when Civil Rights organizations were relevant in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. Just the mention of the NAACP, SCLC, and the National Urban League just to name a few brought about such reverence and respect that people had to take notice of their positive and progressive stance against injustice. Black organizations helped with housing, education, voting rights, and economic empowerment for those disenfranchised. We remember their works of the past, but I’m worried if they are still relevant today? What I mean by relevant has to do with their power.
Before you get all bent out of shape at my question, I want to ask a few questions that needs to be addressed. Are many of these organizations discussing the HIV/AIDS epidemic running rampant in the African-American community? Are many of them challenging the lack of effective leadership in Congress? Do they rally the support of people within their community to clean up street corners, eliminate unattractive landscapes, and promote Black entrepreneurship? Are they taking a stand to make sure that children of color are getting properly educated as well as having all of the necessary resources to compete globally.
My hands-on experience with some of the civil rights organizations I was involved in centered around getting people registered to vote during election time and a conference here and there about HIV/AIDS. While voting is definitely important, other issues must be discussed. HIV/AIDS is important and yet it remains a silent issue within many organizations. Sadly, I didn’t see many youth and young adults getting involved because leadership is more concerned about being politically correct within their organizational structure than doing something beneficial for the community.
Here’s the challenge for every Civil Rights Organization
- For members who pay their dues, send out a monthly or quarterly newsletters outlining what the organization has done previously, is doing, and plans on doing
- Stop competing with each other and work together for the betterment of the people, community, and country
- While many have a 501(c)3 status, please don’t fall into the trap of remaining silent when a voice needs to be heard. If an organization feels as though it may lose its non-profit status on speaking out against injustice, ask the board of directors to develop a funding campaign to support the organization. An organization cannot claim to make a difference but is afraid to speak out against a system that funds them when they see a wrong
- Re-evaluate the leadership team
- Understand your vision and mission
- Ask people to get involved and give them something to do that’s purposeful and meaningful
I refuse to believe that many of the founders of our Black Civil Rights Organizations did their work in vain. They were led to make a difference for generations to come. Now, it’s up to every organization (whether big or small) to step up to the plate and become relevant. For those who have and continue to make a difference, I applaud you. On the other hand, for those simply wasting time, I urge you to become relevant.
I leave you with the question I posed earlier – are Civil Rights organizations still relevant today?
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, business trainer, writer, and success coach. Contact him at www.sinclairgrey.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey