by Tim Young
In a recent article entitled “We don’t heel, we kneel,” I wrote about the importance of supporting Colin Kaepernick as he endeavors to draw attention to the systemic racism, oppression and police terror that Black folks in this country are subjected to. It took a little time for people to engage in the act of “taking a knee,” but one by one they got on board. Now that people are following Kap’s lead, the objective is to get them to put their money where their knee is.
We all recognize and appreciate the philanthropy and good deeds of Colin Kaepernick. This, however, is not about the benevolence of one man; this is about the benevolence of the masses. You see, when it comes to pragmatism, we, the people, need to step our game up. If we are willing to take a knee in the name of change, then we should be willing to invest in the manifestation of that change.
In order to effect change, several things have to happen:
- We have to decolonize.
- We have to become self-sufficient.
- We have to be supportive of Black folks and Black businesses.
I pointed this out in one of my poems that was published in the San Francisco Bay View back in 2013, entitled “Dollars and $en$e.” I make reference to it because it is still relevant and because it poetically lays out the economic path we should be taking.
There is a bevy of Black charities, organizations and other entities out there that are in need of a helping hand. They have no safeguards or corporate welfare to rely upon. It is my belief, that if these charities, organizations and entities are “taking a knee” in some way, shape or form, then we should be supporting them in some way, shape or form.
How many people in the Black community have ever donated time, money or resources to a worthy cause? Surely we all have a cause that is near and dear to our heart?
The cause or institution that I choose to champion is the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. Not only have they been on the frontline of the struggle for the past 40 years, but they have also been a conduit for freedom fighters all around the world. In my eyes, that makes them “too important to fail!”
I am a Black man in America – and an innocent man on Death Row. I am confined to a 9 1/2 by 4 1/2 foot cell. I am denied freedom, justice, and equality. I have no job, safety net or means of income.
Yes, I am what the bible refers to as “the least amongst you.” Yet, in spite of my impediments, I still find ways to contribute to society. I still find ways to make a difference. If I can give of myself, what prevents you, the reader, from doing the same?
In honor of Colin Kaepernick and in the spirit of “putting your money where your knee is,” I hereby challenge every reader of this newspaper to make a minimal monthly donation of $7.00. The San Francisco Bay View largely depends on donations and subscriptions to stay afloat. We, the people, have to prop them up, because unlike the fat cats on Wall Street, they are not privy to government charity. Thus, dig in, chip in and help to preserve national treasures like the San Francisco Bay View.
Now, I know that for every Nat Turner there are a thousand Uncle Toms, but we, as a people, have to find ways to unify and strive for economic empowerment. We have to have a socioeconomic awakening. If we fail to “stay woke,” then we are bound to the same social, political and economic fate as that of our ancestors. Listen, no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, unification is the key, because where there is no unity, there is no power!
If we are going to be consumers in America’s capitalistic system, then let’s at least be smart about it. What we need to do, henceforth, is subscribe to a community-based form of capitalism. That means, spend in the hood, invest in the hood and break bread with people of color. If you are not breaking bread with people of color, then you are simply wasting your dough!
Those who indulge in wastefulness and materialism are fools, and the scripture says that “a fool and his money will soon be parted.”
Wake up! Don’t be a fool! Life is not about popping champagne bottles and making it rain; life is about food, shelter and clothing. Life is about financial responsibility. Life is about saving for a rainy day. Life is about struggle, sacrifice and making Black Lives Matter on a daily basis. Life is about providing for your family and protecting them from a fool’s fate.
To all the rappers, athletes and entertainers out there who have a TMZ mentality and believe in the adage that “it ain’t trick’n if you got it,” well, I got news for you – trick’n is trick’n!
Listen, you can’t shut down the 1 percent if you’re trick’n off your money and enriching them every chance you get. By now, you should know that there’s only one way to “starve the beast” – there’s only one way to extract the power away from the powers that be – and that’s economically! Thus, I say unto you, put your money where your knee is!
©Tim Young #PutYourMoneyWhereYourKneeIs! Send our brother some love and light: Tim Young, F-23374, SQSP, San Quentin CA 94974.