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I speak of black freedom


Columnist: Joseph Akyeampong

In these crazy times that have seen the killing of George Floyd attract global outrage, one question stuck in my mind for my race is: How do we get out of this? We are marching, protesting, demanding justice and equal opportunity.

Well, we have done all these things before – Civil Rights Movement, Million Man March – and now Black Lives Matter (BLM). Such movements have had some impact, but we are not there yet. Is there hope? One source of encouragement for me is that this young generation (black, brown and white) is standing together in solidarity against discrimination and racial injustice, but I think that’s still not enough. For me, four things must happen to liberate all people of African descent:

Increase black education and enterprise

The more blacks that are educated around the world, and the more black businesses we create to compete with the Amazons, Microsofts, Alibabas etc., the more leverage and economic power we’ll have. Can our black millionaires and billionaires create and put more funds into black education and enterprise, like Magic Johnson provided $100 million for minority-owned businesses? We need to do more of that by investing in ourselves – education and business is the key.

Build our defense capabilities (In Africa)

We need to build our own defense systems (weapons, missiles, tanks, aircraft carriers, cyber-security, increase military force etc.). This way we can defend ourselves. For instance, when tensions flare in Africa, the Western world sends their troops and weapons to destroy our nations, simply because our defense capability is weak and all we have is sourced from them. We need to build our own to be able to defend ourselves. A people that can defend themselves cannot be oppressed.

Strengthen our economies (In Africa)

We are called the 3rd/developing world after our economic and human resources were depleted; and Western ideologies, political and economic systems were instituted in our countries. Yet, our leaders accept this label. We need to be serious with building our economies and creating opportunities for our people. We need to strengthen intercontinental trade and become one strong economic block. Thank God for AfCFTA – the largest in the world. That’s how strong we are and can be, but when we hear of countries like Nigeria closing its borders to trade, it defeats the purpose.

Repatriation (The diaspora)

Sometimes I feel the Civil Rights Movement leaned too much toward Martin Luther King’s integration agenda. While it was all good and we thank God for seemingly realizing the dream (have we really?), I feel like we should have paid equal attention to Malcom X and separated ourselves culturally and economically. White America is simply created by black sweat but not for blacks. Perhaps, we shouldn’t force ourselves to fit in. To this, I call on our African leaders to wake up, and follow the example of Ghana (Year of Return and Beyond The Return), to create an environment for people of African descent to be able to return to a place they can call home and feel safe.

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