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We Gave It Our Best


When we went off the air on Thursday morning, were all hyped up about our plans to fly to Haiti and set up an Internet café so that earthquake survivors could communicate with their loved ones back in the states. We really tried. We did everything possible from our end to make it happen. But once we got there. we were turned around. So, Friday morning, we broadcasted from Miami, miles away from Haiti, but not too far from Little Haiti. And that got me to thinking.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and not a lot of sleeping, so bear with me.

As much as I plan to continue with our goal to set up badly-needed communications stations for earthquake victims, my thoughts came back to right here at home and all the Little Haitis, and all the communities all over the country where the majority population is people of color. Nah, forget people of color – black folks.

Not taking my eye off the dire need of the people of Haiti for a second, but wondering why we come together, work together, pray together and take our checkbooks out when a huge tragedy strikes – yet we can look next door, around the corner or across the highway, see a tragedy in the making and do absolutely nothing to stop it. When I co-host the MSNBC special, “Obama’s America: 2010 and Beyond” and we discuss all those issues that have plagued black America for decades and try to come up with solutions in two hours, maybe someone on the panel can tell me why and how we choose our battles.

I mean, even all the outpouring of love that the world is showing Haiti seems bizarre. These people have been living in dire poverty for the longest. It was no secret that their infrastructure could never withstand an earthquake of even a much smaller magnitude. They had never recovered from the beatdowns they’d gotten from hurricanes, and most of the world had nothing for them until now. But what am I saying? New Orleans still hasn’t gotten the support it needs when it comes to rebuilding the black communities. How must they feel as they watch the world rally together to do so much good in Haiti?

If we would be just a little proactive and put just half the effort into putting our dollars, our manpower and even our prayers toward preventing disaster instead of waiting until it happens, think how much better the world would be.

What are the most pressing issues in your neighborhood or city? What disaster do you see coming your way, and how do you think it could be prevented? What more could the government be doing to make things better?

Well, I’ve got news for you. If you don’t take part in the Census 2010 and make sure every black person you know is counted, you have very little chance of seeing very much change in your situation. It’s crucial that the government at least understands our needs. Of course we can’t expect miracles, but our complaints about all that’s wrong will be much more meaningful if we had the numbers to back us up. When we’re counted, when we show up to PTA meetings and City Council meetings, when we vote in ALL elections – not just the ones when a black man is running – it sends the message that we’re investing in what’s ours. And that goes a long way.

For some reason, people are more willing to either help people who are helping themselves or people that are totally helpless. But there’s a large group in between that is trying to go to work, make sure their kids are in school and not much else. These are the people that need to be motivated to accept more than the status quo – to demand more because we’re worth more. We all need to give our best and to go back and try again when our best isn’t good enough.

Please check out the MSNBC special tonight. Numbers count, and once again, if we can make a big impact, it opens the doors for all kinds of programming that includes African-Americans. Also, take note of the sponsors of this program – and anything else that promotes black America – and support those people by buying their products and services.

See you tonight. And visit BlackAmericaWeb.com leading up to the show for a live blog with me as I get ready. We’re going in together! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.