by Robert A. Smith Jr.
Dear Dr. Willie Ratcliff,
Peace and continual blessings. My name is Robert A. Smith Jr., and I am currently incarcerated. I want to thank you for giving me and my fellow brothers in Ohio the Bay View. I first started reading them in prison, back in 2006. I’ve been incarcerated for 15 years now.
I just caught what’s the latest Bay View to me, April 2018. And I read an article where Bay View was asking to be saved. That article grieves my spirit, and I pray to God you received the necessary funds to keep it alive.
Here’s my take on Bay View, the HBCUs and any other Black establishments needing financial help: We, Black America, have way too many Black athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs etc. for Black establishments to be underfunded.
See, the real problem is, Black skin doesn’t mean you have a Black agenda. And we the parents are to blame for that. We’re raising these kids up to be athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs, doctors etc., with no awareness of themselves.
Those are our children, not contributing a dime to help further Black America. But they help and contribute millions to children that don’t look like them and to further white America’s cause. These athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs of color lack consciousness and are blind to Black empowerment. Now of course there’s exceptions to the rules, and those celebrities know who they are, but on the whole, we the parents are failing in that department.
Obviously we know, whether we accept it or not, there’s two Americas, and anyone who doubts this, a simple traffic stop will remind you. Therefore, we need to do a better job as parents raising conscious athletes and entertainers with a Black agenda. Every Black athlete and entertainer should understand their success or celebrity status is a means to Black empowerment.
We, Black America, should always be seeking or looking to sever the master-slave relationship that we’ve becomed so accustomed to. That means we got to get White America out of our pockets, wherever possible, whether it’s the agents, the agencies, the record companies, the scouts, the sports attorneys, the distribution companies, the banks, the lawyers, the businesses, the hotels, the charities, the foundations, the grocery stores, the sports agents, the publicists, the body guards etc.
A Black agenda will see this need clearly. A Black agenda would have shut down the NFL alongside of Colin Kaepernick. And this is one of the reasons Black America is losing ground.
There’s two Americas, and anyone who doubts this, a simple traffic stop will remind you.
Of course, mass incarceration is another front. That brings me to myself. As I stated, I’m incarcerated for drugs and violence. I accept full responsibility no matter how much I didn’t see the big picture or full extent of my choice. And see, that’s it, our choices as teenagers and young adults, no matter how unconscious we were, have landed us in a position where God is still using us.
Now thankfully I’ll be leaving this institution soon to return back to society, but that’s not everybody’s reality behind these walls. So for those of us who are blessed to get back to society, whether wrongfully convicted, innocence or release date, we must not forget about the many injustices our fellow men face behind these walls.
We should be on the front line of injustice, not just our women or white sympathizers or the elderly, but us young, able street brothers.
We all, that’s fortunate enough to get back to society, need to have a “Black” agenda long before we get back there. Let’s utilize the system or the institutions as think tanks to empower Black America. One of the things that I realize is the influence I have with younger brothers around here, because by the grace of God my talk matches my walk.
So I plan to get out and volunteer my time at juvenile detention centers. That’s where I feel the next generation of unapologetic Black men are at. They’re just a little misguided and need lots of love with proper education. So we got the position, those of us that are in prison, and the enemy has provided us with the time. Let’s use it wisely.
So that’s my take on the issue of the Bay View needing to be saved. Dr. Willie, feel free to use any part or segment of my writing as you feel led. Don’t stifle the spirit. God has blessed me; I must bless others.
Send our brother some love and light: Robert A. Smith Jr., 477176, P.O. Box 80033, Toledo OH 43608.