8.20.2009

Identifying Community Assets: Interview Series with the authors of IMPACT (Part 2)

(Here is Part 2 of Brother Derrick's one-on-one interview with Dr. Sommers and Dr. Anderson about their hot book "The Impact Equation". Missed Part 1? Click Here)

Derrick Muhammad: You two said that essentially Blacks were afraid of power. What did you mean by that?

Dr. William Sommers: We mean that Blacks are afraid that they will have to do something destructive to regain power. All Blacks wanted historically, after slavery, was the right to live without being raped, beaten or hung. Blacks never talked about real power. After slavery, Black power really meant – Black cooperation. And black cooperation was the ability to live in society without harm. We’ve lived in a society that has used such brute and savage tactics to gain power, that at the core of it all, Blacks don’t want to talk about winning in that power struggle because they believe that they would have to use those same cruel tactics. And we’re revealing that we don’t have to use cruel tactics to regain power.

It’s absolutely wrong and insane to not want to have power over your own person. Every other culture group isn’t afraid to attain power. The Jewish community isn’t afraid. The Asian community isn’t afraid. The Arabic community isn’t afraid. The Mexican community isn’t afraid. So we show tactics and strategies that ensure that we regain our power, without compromising who we are as a community.

Derrick Muhammad: Your guide has like 1001 tools and resources. But what stuck out to me is that it says: ‘identifying community assets is imperative to solutions’. Can you explain?

Dr. Janice Anderson: I can’t tell you how many people that have come up to me and said, ‘I wanted to do something, I just didn’t know where to start or how.’ There are so many people in our community that want to do something. I mean they really want to do something. But, they just don’t know where their community assets are. Or they don’t know how to obtain those assets.

CNN and all the other mediums bombard us with the problems. The average person becomes so overwhelmed. Most people don’t even know how to obtain a grant. Or they don’t know how to challenge their local laws and win. And furthermore they feel like they are alone. So we identify endless community assets and we make sure that they know it’s attainable. White supremacists and opponents of our power want us to believe that our problems are irreversible. They want us so overwhelmed or underwhelmed that we will eventually no longer care. They want us to believe that there is truly nothing that we can do about it. But we can do something about it.

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