Gary Cunningham: I wrote an article for Nonprofit Quarterly on this question of “Rethinking the Path to Black Liberation.” And it’s a complex issue. But I used the work of Ian Haney López, who’s a professor at University of California, Berkeley, who wrote a book called Merge Left, where he did polling and research and focus groups on the question of, How do we get to a more just society?
And part of what he found out is the way we’re framing the questions—and he did this with Black activists and Latino activists and whites, et cetera, so it was a pretty well rounded, both polling and research—but what he found was the way that we’re framing the message, that people don’t see themselves in the picture, and therefore we’re basically splitting off a whole group of folks that would support that because it’s in their interest. And he really was focused on working people in unions and, and other things. Also, what he found was that even the messages ourselves—when they took it to activists—people actually didn’t buy into their own messages.
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Where I came down in that article, really, was about this issue of how—you know, I’ve done report after report, Jeremie [Green], I know you, john [powell], Anne [Price], all of us have been writing on this stuff for a long time—and I just came to a different place, that we actually do need to uplift, that antiracism by itself won’t get us there, that we do need a pro-Black agenda.
Black people need to have their own pro-Black agenda. But we also need to have a pro-Black agenda in corporations and school districts, et cetera. Because when you have a pro-Black agenda, then you’re really going to honor and respect and ensure that we have systems that work well for everyone.