Determined to find solutions to the issues faced by the black community, 1500 people gathered at Woodward High School on June 11 for The Black Agenda Cincinnati.
The Black Summit, an all-day event, gave individuals the opportunity to listen to motivational speakers and engage in forums that addressed the various issues faced by the black community.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Dyson, led the morning discussion that addressed two issues he felt were the most prevalent: gentrification and education. He explained how over the years due to gentrification in suburban areas, blacks have been forced to migrate to the inner city, an area with significantly fewer resources. Students in inner cities are held at a disadvantage compared to those in the suburbs because the education is significantly worse.
“If you’re poor the school is going to be poor and the teachers who teach your children will not be as prepared or try to treat your children with the necessary dignity and respect that they deserve,” said Dr. Dyson.
According to Dr. Dyson gentrification is only beneficial for the wealthy. After blacks were forced to migrate to the inner city, suburban communities have invested in developers who have rehabilitated the homes and sold them to wealthy buyers. This is all done without consideration of how it has ultimately affected the black community. Dr. Dyson believes that when the community learns to become inclusive and genuinely care about one another, the issues will be resolved.
Many of the participants in the neighborhood forum didn’t agree with Dr. Dyson’s solution to the issues that the black community faced. They believed the solution had more to do with troublesome youth and investments. Richard Dukes, a resident of Avondale believes that if the wealthy black people invested their money into the community they were raised in, they could improve their city.
“They’re saying we don’t have money, but black people who do have money are investing money outside the neighborhood,”.
Dukes also believes that the youth are an issue within the community because they are destroying the community by selling drugs and participating in prostitution. His solution is to address the parents of the troublesome youth so that they can receive the counseling help that they need.
Another issue that was addressed was community outreach. Eddie Hackler from Cleveland explained how people invest so much money into the church but never invest that money into helping the community. His solution is to have a united church bank account that would hold the funds for the community. Whenever a city would be in need of a renovation they could pull from those funds.
Patricia Crawford, a resident of Bondhill believes that people in the black community are more concerned with being independent than actually taking the time to save. Her solution is cohabitating which will allow for people to save or invest their money before they make the decision to live on their own.
One thing that all participants of the forum agreed on was unity. They realized that in order to resolve the issue citizens of every community had to work together and address the issue to the city council members.
“We need to unite because we are all fighting one fight,” proclaimed a participant of the forum.