I know our website editor in chief, Michele Hickford, is going to have a cow that I’m mentioning this first, but who cares? [Editor’s note: moo]Today is a significant emotional day for me. It’s the day my Tennessee Volunteers start their SEC football schedule. It’s the day that maybe, just maybe, we can finally get a monkey off our backs.
It’s been some eleven years since Tennessee has beaten the Florida Gators. And trust me, when I lived in Florida, the horror, the horror! Last year, I was speaking at an event in Kaufman County, Forney, Texas and just before I started speaking they told me the Volunteers were ahead by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with less than seven minutes to go in the Swamp. The folks sadly told me after I finished my speech. We missed a field goal as time ran out and lost.And so it is, for the second straight year, I will not be in front of the television agonizing over the game — I will be on the campus of the “other” UT, University of Texas. That’s cool because Tennessee Volunteers came to the Lone Star State to fight for liberty — and the first president of the Republic of Texas was from the Volunteer State.
So, you ask, what will I be doing on the Longhorn campus today? I’ll be participating in the Texas Tribune Festival. But don’t think I won’t have friends – and some Gator fans – who’ll be texting me ad nauseum!Yep, I’ll be on a panel with the Mayor Kasim Reed of my hometown Atlanta, Mayor Ivy Taylor of San Antonio, and US Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee of Houston, who will definitely be the best and most colorfully dressed.
We’re gathering at 1:45 pm in Hogg Memorial Auditorium to discuss the topic of…drum roll please…”The State of Black America.” Our panel is to be hosted by a fella named Touré, who’s had some interesting things to say about me previously — let’s see if he has such boldness in person.
Now, I’m hoping those of y’all in the area of Austin, Texas can drop by — after all, the panel is only for one hour…yes, one hour to discuss the state of black America.What I’m hoping is this won’t devolve into some politicized Black Lives Matter rhetorical roundtable.
There are some very serious issues in the black community, and it’s not about law enforcement officers.
I plan on steering this discussion towards the issues of the decimation of the black family, the need for better education opportunities in the inner cities, and restoration of small business entrepreneurship.
And we do need to talk about the issue of maintaining security in the black community. Too often folks want to drive this conversation to the Band-aid, totally missing the sucking chest wound.My objective will be to talk about the black community I knew growing up in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward, and what has changed since then — a trend happening in nearly every black community across America.
I know we’ll probably talk about the Colin Kaepernick -inspired disregard of our National Anthem and America — so we need to articulate and define what is “social justice.”
It seems to me, based on what we see in Charlotte, it’s synonymous with mob violence and rule to replace the rule of law. It’s funny… why is it that we don’t see any nuttiness happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the police officer has been charged with manslaughter? You see, the system does work. However, it appears in Charlotte – in –a key battleground state in the election — the forces from outside the state are elevating this to critical mass — there are reports of protesters being bussed in.
And I’ll be honest, I’m somewhat upset that the Atlanta Braves have moved out of my city and gone north to Cobb County. But perhaps Mayor Reed will talk to us as to why that happened — because it is related to the state of black Atlanta.
When there’s no economic growth and security, you lose economic opportunity. And that has been a critical ill for the black community. I pray we get a chance to discuss the ramifications of Dodd-Frank on small community banks and how the lack of capital adversely affects small business growth — clearly seen in the black community, the inner city.
Yes, I know what some of you are saying, four people, a moderator, and just one hour, how in depth will this discussion be? Well I’m gonna do my best to ensure that it is.
Well, I may miss the Florida-Tennessee game as my flight back from Austin doesn’t land until 6pm Central Time. However, there are sacrifices we must make for a greater cause, an important issue: the restoration of a thriving and independent black America.
You can actually livestream the event here — c’mon, you can have the TV on watching the game. And I know what I’m about to say is selfish, but, if there’s a God in Heaven, and you can hear my cry, please Lord, end the scourge of my Tennessee Volunteers losing to the Florida Gators.
Oh yeah, I am calling for diving intervention…and as soon as early voting begins, I will be lifting up another prayer based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, (NIV), “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”