I attended the first day of the National Action Network’s 2010 convention. I had a conflict and was unable to attend the national leadership forum, “Measuring the Movement,” which moderator Roland Martin described as a “live working session.”
Fortunately, TV One re-aired the broadcast. So I was able to hear firsthand what was said. And they said a lot.
I listened as leader after leader pledged their commitment to a 12-month action plan. Some pledges are more specific and measurable than others.
Ben Jealous said the NAACP will increase the participation of African Americans in the census by five percent.
Marc Morial said the National Urban League will assist 10,000 people find employment in the next 12 months, expand job training for the formerly incarcerated, and add 10 to 15 sites for the League’s Education and Youth Empowerment Program.
Sharpton outlined the National Action Network’s three-point plan:
- Boost black voter registration and turnout by five percent in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
- Push for federal, state and local agencies to increase deposits in black banks.
- Close the academic achievement gap.
The success will be when we implement what we outlined. It’s about action …The real challenge is the work. What are we going to do? ... That is the measure of the success, or the lack of success, of the convention.Sharpton added:
The time for talk is over. It’s time to walk the walk. Nobody cares when you’re upset. They care when you organize.
It is time for everyone to really stop and assess, this is what I’m committed to do over the next 90 days, six months and year.
Martin pledged to hold the leaders accountable:
We are going to hold people accountable. We will go back to them every three months and ask “what have you done?” Everyone has a role to play.
And everyone includes the person in the mirror. Yes, you.
Host Tom Joyner wrote:
Okay, you heard it. We are going to hold these panelists accountable for the commitments they made. We’re going to do our part on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. But I need you to hold us to it! And ask yourself what Roland just did: What are YOU prepared to do?
Joyner invited viewers to send their action plan to: email@example.com.
Here’s what I plan to do: I am committed to accountability reporting. So I will post the pledges on Tracking Change Wiki, and track and visualize the organizations’ progress in achieving their goals.
Data-driven measures of accountability will foster a new paradigm of civic engagement and black leadership that moves beyond folks sitting on their rusty-dusty and complaining about what others are not doing.Yes, we must hold President Obama accountable. At the same time, we must hold all elected officials and black leaders accountable.
As for politicians who want our votes, Danny Bakewell Sr., president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, is spot-on:
We need people to deliver for us. If you deliver for us, we’ll deliver for you. If you don’t deliver for us, we ain’t doing nothing.