|The Black is Back Coalition and New Caucus of Newark Education Workers marched Wednesday as coalition member organizations|
The women leaders and organizers of People's Organization for Progress (particularly POP Corresponding Secretary sister Ingrid Hill, who oversaw every aspect of the campaign since its inception) had genuinely overextended themselves during the past year and more. Their heroic efforts were essential to everything we've done. The decisive factor in this evaluation is that the campaign never achieved "critical mass." Many, many community, labor and religious-based organizations signed on, but relatively few brought out their membership. With 179 supporting coalition member organizations, we should have easily had 2,000 marchers on Wednesday.
For example, the contribution of teachers and other education-based groups has been impressive over the year, but even though they participated Wednesday, it was a foregone conclusion that teachers weren't building this among their students and concerned parents in July. Continuing the struggle will need to take new forms as POP and activist members of the coalition searches for other ways to build the fight-back such as door-to-door organizing in the community; church, mosque, and synagogue visits, etc., etc. This shift is currently under debate at weekly POP meetings. Join us on Thursday evenings, 6:30 PM at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, 224 West Kinney St. in Newark to help formulate the future of this campaign…
|Newark Teachers Association president, Annette Alston, addresses the rally prior to Wednesday's march as Larry Hamm, chairman of the People's Organization for Progress, looks on.|
Readers may wonder why I project a mixed assessment of the genuine victory that our rally last Wednesday represents. As Amilcar Cabral once noted, "tell no lies, claim no easy victories…" (see Cabral's Revolution in Guinea for the full text of this essay). A serious approach to fighting for genuine change demands we take Cabral's lesson to heart. However, it is interesting to note that Newark's newspaper of record, The Star Ledger, which is often fairly critical of community activists in general (and POP in particular) published a very positive assessment of our July 11th demonstration in their Sunday, July 15th Essex County edition (see Group ends 381 consecutive days of protest in Newark).
To see a page of my friend Jon's photos from this exciting event, click HERE.