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CLINGMAN: On What Ground are We Standing?

James Clingman | 7/31/2013, 3 p.m.
James Clingman

“Now these are some practical things we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base. And at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts. I ask you to follow through here.”

So, upon what ground are we standing as we look forward to our next March on Washington in August 2013? Are we standing only on emotional ground, or are we standing on the firm ground of the economic base to which MLK referred in his speech?

Trayvon is gone, and his parents are dealing with their pain and agony by demonstrating the same kind of dignity and discipline Coretta Scott King showed after MLK’s assassination. Our charge must be to use our collective clout to bring about peaceful change – as MLK said, “We don’t have to argue and curse at anyone.” Just use our collective economic power with the same resolve as Trayvon’s parents.

What can we do? Let’s work to get Marissa Alexander out of that Florida prison. March on that in Washington. Sign petitions, write letters, and send emails to Florida Gov. Rick Scott demanding he grant her clemency or whatever he has to do to set her free. This young sister got 20 years for standing her ground against an abusive Black man; she had no place to retreat and fired a warning shot into the ceiling that saved her life. Yes, another travesty of justice in Florida, but one we can act upon to give Marissa Alexander the justice she deserves. If we stand on the right ground in this case, as both MLK’s suggested, at least we can save a life rather than just mourn another one.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his website blackonomics.com.