Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tavis Smiley Hosts 10th State of the Black Union

Rev. Angela Lee Price

There is still a "Hallelujah" in my spirit. Tavis Smiley's mother has just prayed the benediction at the tenth State of the Black Union Symposium in Los Angeles. I watched half the symposium, and the half, as they say, won't be told by me tonight.

I tuned into C-Span at the beginning of the afternoon session. President Barack Obama's taped video address and the second panel's dialogue has me full to overflowing with new information on a variety of subjects. I truly felt President Obama's address was not only a concise recap of his first 40 days in office, but also a healing moment considering the uproar that occurred over Tavis' comments during the presidential campaign. Eventhough I have spported Tavis in the past and I have spoken with him twice on my radio show, I must admit I was upset with him, too, so I almost didn't watch this 10th Union.

Tavis introduced a new book, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise which outlines President Obama's campaign promises. He asked the audience to use it as a checklist for tracking Obama's progress, plus, as with the 2006 bestseller, Covenent With Black America, Tavis is going on the road to several big cities beginning Monday to discuss the book. Louisville is not on the tour this time, at least not in the first set of cities.

Van Jones, Randall Robinson, Lani Guinier, and Erica Willams all shared profound insights on everything from the president's allocation of federal dollars for global warming and the ecology and the impact those dollars could have on blacks in the 'hood in terms of jobs, to exploring news ways of determining intelligence that includes, and not excludes, the African American intellect, to atrocities in African and other countries during the Clinton era. The first black Republican National Committe Chairman Michael Steele was a panelist as was Julianne Malveaux, Cornel West, Na'im Akbar, Jawanza Kunjufu, Danny Bakewell, Sr., and Karen Bass.

The comment that had me shoutin', however, not there was only one, came from Dr. Emily Towns when she said, "I know many of you are not going to like what I'm about to say, but the black church has to stop focusing so much on prosperity and start focusing on the prophetic (speaking truth to powers, not giving personal prophecies)." She said, "Prosperity is about yourself, your family, and those around you....The prophetic is about each and every one of us. If we don't move more into true communal relationship, Barack Obama will have only one term."

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves.

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