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National Radio Host Bev Smith Discusses her upcoming forum “The Disappearing Black Community and How We Can Get it Back.””

We had a chance to talk to National Radio Host Bev Smith who is hosting a town hall forum this week in Pittsburgh, PA. The forum was scheduled to have the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Congressman James Clyburn & Community activist Melanie Campbell.

Bev Smith
Bev Smith

Due to pressure from the Jewish Community Melanie Campbell cancelled her appearance.
On our show today National Radio host Bev Smith discuss why she is doing the forum which is a follow up to a previous forum. The title of her Town Hall Meeting is “The Disappearing Black Community and How We Can Get it Back.”

Bev Smith radio interview


(Time for a good old fashion Negro Spiritual…”Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”)
Every since I proposed the idea to invite Minister Louis Farrakhan to the second edition of the Bev Smith Town Hall Meeting, “The Disappearing Black Community, How Can we Get It Back” I have been learning lessons. Lessons of intolerance, lessons of unforgiveness, lessons of implied political pressure, and the ultimate lesson that no matter how you want to feel, African Americans are still not able to chart their own destiny in America.
This morning, I received some disturbing news from a friend that I admire deeply. A friend who is probably next to Dr. Ron Daniels, and Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, one of the best community organizers in the country. A committed friend to the cause of freedom from ethnic discrimination, gender discrimination, and also anti-Semitism. A project that she has been working on to train African American women and young girls across the country on how to navigate their way up Americas economic ladder, could now be in jeopardy if she sits on stage with Minister Louis Farrakhan at the second Bev Smith Town Hall meeting.
Pressure from various Jewish and white Christian organizations has caused her to decline to appear at the meeting this Friday, the meeting is solely focused on issues that impact the African American community.
I love sister Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and understand her position. That is what saddens me.
To think that the critical work that she is doing could be stopped by some unforgiving, uninvolved Jewish and white Christian agitators focused on their own agenda, breaks my heart.
Too bad we in the African American community don’t have two things working for us that could cause Melanie Campbell not to be afraid. One, a united African American community that would come to her rescue in support of her organization and would do so with the same amount of intensity that some in the Jewish and white Christian community have done to stop her from attending the meeting.
Secondly, we are not connected to the wealthy African Americans in our community so that the amount of donations coming from various sources that is threatened, could not be of concern because they have the ability to write a check to her, to replace the threatened funds, so she could continue her project throughout the year.
What disturbs me even more, is that the pressure is coming from organized Jewish and white Christian organizations located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
What infuriates me, is that I have not heard from these groups on their position on issues that affect the Black Community ever. Harold Miller, President, Future Strategies, LLC outlines my point about the crisis African Americans face in this region. In his editorial to the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette, he says, that despite the accolades given to Pittsburgh for being a most livable city, it still has a black community that is poorer than the 40 largest cities in America.
” The Pittsburgh region has received many accolades over the past year for its high quality of life and the resilience of its economy. But our community also is No. 1 in the nation on an issue that should be a source of shame, not pride. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Pittsburgh region has the highest rate of poverty among working-age African-Americans of any of the 40 largest metropolitan regions in the country. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of the region’s African-Americans ages 18 to 64 lived in poverty in 2008. That’s twice as high as in regions such as Baltimore and Charlotte, N.C.

If you think that African-American poverty is just a city of Pittsburgh problem, you’re wrong. Fewer than half (46 percent) of the poor African-Americans in the region live in the city; 37 percent of them live in the rest of Allegheny County, and 17 percent live in other counties in the region. In fact, the highest rate of poverty among African-Americans in the region isn’t in the city of Pittsburgh — it’s in Lawrence County, where almost half (49 percent) of the African-American residents are poor.”
To Read More:

Where is this statement of concern for the Pittsburgh Black community? Where is their united effort to sit with leaders of concern in Pittsburgh and discuss how they can help to alleviate some of these problems?
Why have they only come alive collectively now? Is it because the black community wants to talk to each other?
I am hoping that the African American community and our friends will contact Assistant Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) and thank him for not bending over to the pressure that he is most assuredly getting by also dropping out.
If you agree with me, call and show you support to the representative at 202-226-3210 to show your support for his strength and integrity.
Also, please contact The August Wilson Center and let them know you support them also for not bowing down to the pressure.
I am saddened by these events, but I am more committed more than ever to be a voice to and for the people I love, the African American Community.
I am right now listening to the words of the late activist and recording artist, Nina Simone singing, “I wish I knew how it felt to be free.”
I am singing it another way today, I am free, free to hold a town hall meeting, March 11, 2011, 7pm, in the sold out auditorium of the August Wilson Culture Center. Can I get an Amen.
Free to have a conversation with a man who my people admire for his strength, integrity principals and dedication to them, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Can I get an Amen.
Free to open that conversation up to the national African American community and anyone who wants to listen because of the support of my syndicator, The American Urban Radio Networks. Can I get an Amen.
I am singing the song a different way today, and I will know what it’s like to be free to talk to you and you to talk to me at the Town Hall meeting, on this Friday, March 11th. Can I get an Amen.
God be with us in our efforts to unite.
Bev Smith, Host, The Bev Smith Show, The Queen of Late Night Talk
American Urban Radio Networks

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