When there is a crisis in the Black community, the rescue squad always calls on Black women. Black women are the workhorses of the Black community, but they don’t get the glory or rewards from the work they do. I recently came across an article in a Black newspaper out of Memphis, Tennessee called the Tri-State Defender, entitled, “Three ways the Black Church can practice economic Justice.” The article was by former pop singer Larry Reed, formerly with the group called the Dramatics. It poses three situations and conditions in the Black Church that stiﬂes growth in the Black community. The three conditions are as follows and comes in the form of instructions:
- Pay all of our employees a livable wage. The subtitle of this instruction says, “Those who do the Lord’s work should not be taken advantage of. Employees should be paid at least what they need to survive. ”
- Pay women equal wages. Women are overworked and underpaid for the same work done by their male co-workers. To do otherwise could be called “sacred sexism or ecclesiastical apartheid.”
- Contract with and advocate for Black businesses. He says when faced with a need ask yourself, “What would a Black Jesus do? “
The Black community is in a lifelong struggle for freedom justice and equality. With Obama in the White house it seemed that we had come from the outhouse to the big house. The problem is that it just seemed that way. It also seems that, like Reconstruction, we must keep going back to the starting line of the struggle and start over. After Obama, we got a con man named Trump. If you think he is the answer, you have been conned.
Every day Trump does something to remind us that we are not free. This week it was the release and pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio who terrorized the Latino community and was convicted of disobeying a court order that said to stop terrorizing and proﬁling Latinos. Trump and Arpaio are White. They are free. We are not. They are busy trying to turn the clock back on our freedom. Are we willingly participating in turning back the clock back on ourselves by buying drugs and stealing the stuff we think we must have.
The tragedy is that many of us work just as hard to help them turn the clock back. When you haven’t read and/or don’t remember the Ten Commandments of Christ or mistreat those who love you, you are making it easy to keep us down. Drugs, theft, and violence are all addictions that keep young Blacks going back to jail. The prison population is full of “us.” Why? The answer is we avoid going to church and the rules it teaches us, we don’t listen to our elders, and we avoid reading books where we could ﬁnd the answers.
We have no job or business to earn a living which can prepare us for a family. In this high tech world of cameras everywhere, you’re caught on camera before you ﬁnish your crime. These use to be Dick Tracy dreams like telephones and camera wrist-watches, and spending money without cash and typing and sending messages without a typewriter. Now we have DNA, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. If you are not working on gaining or improving technology skills, you are planning to be left behind.
We complain about our young having more access to guns and drugs, than to jobs and adequate educational opportunities. Who will do something about your problem? No one but you, along with family and church. It’s your problem. The answer is there. Find it.
Create a job. Can you be a Janitor, a handy man, gardener, taxi driver, jailer, kitchen worker, cook, shoe shine man? Do something. A garbage man is something that beats nothing. Everybody can’t be a rapper or basketball player.
Jesus was a carpenter, but he proclaimed that he was anointed to preach the good news to the poor and proclaim jubilee. Find out what you are anointed to do that will keep you out of jail. Are you sitting and wondering and asking the question, “Can a shopping cart hold my clothes and all my things?”
It grieves me to see the growing number of Black men on the street, sleeping in doorways of places where they could have gotten jobs. Without a job, you ain’t got far to go to join them.
Do we need another program to rehabilitate them? Do they need to pack their bag, catch a freight train and relocate? Ask what would a Black Jesus do? Then ask what are you going to do? A Black Jesus would work to ensure that the Black Church is a place that proclaims and practices economic Justice.