Talking about change is always a good way to look at the end of one thing and the beginning of another. As far as change goes, 2012 has had more than its fair change, both nationally and locally. Locally, things have changed politically and, likewise, change is on the agenda for 2012, as a result of some events that happened in 2012. Then there are things that seemed to have changed but, in reality, they have remained the same.
On the political front, locally, the loss of 44th District Assemblyman Anthony Portantino was hailed with parties and accolades for his dedication to his District. Less stated, and yet of no less concern, is the nervous anticipation as to what will happen next in the District. Under Portantino, the District has seen African American concerns included in receiving a fair share of attention from staff positions to programs where African Americans have been recognized for their contributions to the community.
One of the land mark programs of Portantino was where a partnership between Historical Black Colleges and Universities and The University of California was initiated. In the works is an expansion of that program, with recognition of the fact that entrepreneurship, like education, is key to maintaining progress in light of the loss of public sector and private jobs. A little birdie tells me that Portantino has put in place the seed of creating entrepreneurship programs at the state and local level.
The election of Chris Holden as the first African American Assemblyman from the 44th District will be watched closely as he attempts to fill the shoes of Portantino and follows the path set by Jack Scott. Scott, the former President of Pasadena City College, was all about Education. Scott set the path for Portantino because, before Scott, African Americans were a mere footnote in the political life of the community.
Now the Torch has been passed to Holden and he must prove that being the first Black Assemblyman is not enough. The path that has been opened must be travelled and must lead to more Education and Entrepreneurship; otherwise Black California's annual report will continue to predictably read that Blacks are at the bottom of the barrel looking for handouts as a way to participation at the top. Holden would be smart to form the state's Black Entrepreneurial Institute with an annual conference on Entrepreneurship.
If Holden is looking for a model on conferences, he might take a look at Lena Kennedy's annual Women's Health Conference. He might, also, take a close look at Metropolitan Baptist Church sponsored Young Black Male Conference, and he might take a look at the Delta's young Black women's conference. Right here, at home in Pasadena, we have the models for him to follow, so he will never be accused of just taking up space.
This town has people like Juanita Devaughn, Juanita Tillman, and others who support and promote Education. Also there's Tamika Farr at the YWCA who support and promote equality for our girls. ENTREPRENEURSHIP and EDUCATION should be the by word as we move into the 2013 and seek to change the status quo.
The Pasadena NAACP is in need of new leadership, as long-time President, Joe Brown steps down. I suggest that the Pasadena NAACP and the Altadena NAACP take into consideration another very serious look and joining together into one organization. Del Yarborough has sought for a long time to promote a kind of Congress of Black Organizations to create more coordination of services and reduce the conflicts and duplication of services for a diminishing Black community. Maybe 2013 is a good year to make something like that happens.
Of course, we need to concentrate on maintaining the seat Holden just left, as we watch the contest between former NAACP President, John Kennedy, and local businessman, Ishmael Trone, among others. Also running is local minister, Nicholas Benson. Rumor has it that the Tea Party is going to put up a candidate and will start telling lies about one of the candidates in that race. Let's watch out for dirt being thrown around by white agents and politicians to influence elections involving Black candidates. Didn't we see enough of that with the election of President Obama?
Nationally, we overcame the racial hostility to re-electing President Obama. We need to support President Obama as he tries to expand health services for all. He has been chosen as Time magazine's Man of the Year. I agree, even though he does make us angry sometimes such as when he allowed the Susan Rice to drop out for Secretary of State, and place Senator John Kerry up for that appointment. However, on second look, I noticed that a top candidate for the seat Senator John Kerry's Senate will leave may be Massachusetts Governor Patrick Deval who could become the only Democratic Senator. This another example of how politically smart the President is.
As my son, Dr. Jamal says, "We need to keep looking backward to move forward and fight back when you need to do so. I look forward to a new year and making progress for a people whose time has come. Entrepreneurship and education are the keys. Let's make 2013 the year for both.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!