You know, it seems like Martin Luther King Day is the one day when white people feel it’s safe to talk about race. Or maybe some feel like it’s their civic duty. For some reason, this has begun to strike me as lip service frankly. Particularly in the wake of Katrina, Bush’s desperate old trick of surrounding himself with disadvantaged Negro, ahem African-American children is too insulting to watch. MLK and CSK are no doubt twitching in their graves.

I think Dr. King would be disappointed that his death left a gaping hole in American society for a true African-American leader who could transcend racial and socio-economic boundaries to become truly one of the greatest Americans ever.

We’ve made great progress as a people. Yet there is still great inequity. Race plays a factor in almost every issue we face in America — whether it’s Iraq, healthcare, housing, education, immigration, national security and law enforcement — you name it and I can tell you how racism has blocked reasonable, rational action, impacting all Americans adversely.

And this is not to say that America is not without great American leaders who happen to be black. Barack Obama would appear to have an multi-racial appeal unseen since King’s time. Within the black community, Tavis Smiley and Rev. Lennox Yearwood are among my candidates for emerging African-American leaders. Tavis Smiley is getting ready to put out a new book that is highly likely to be another NY Times bestseller. It is supposed to be more action-oriented Strange that the man has written 2 bestsellers recently and yet I have yet to see him on the Today show. Funny that.

Presidential candidates and progressives looking to harness the energy, passion and resources of the black middle class — I would strongly suggest that you take a look at the Covenant with Black America which climbed to #1 on the NY Times bestseller list back in April 2006 and the soon-to-be-released Covenant in Action. If you want to see the future of black activism and power, I would follow Tavis Smiley’s movements very carefully. Brick by brick he is building the foundation for a powerful force. From the description:

The Covenant in Action is organized into three parts: (1) stories about the projects and actions that everyday people have undertaken over the past year that were inspired by the Covenant With Black America; (2) motivational essays from young Black activists who are on the ground impacting their environments; and (3) a toolkit outlining steps you can take to organize, connect, and act. The toolkit contains not only traditional action strategies, but includes innovative approaches to organizing and community building that will result in stronger, more bonded communities that are reflective of their history and past experiences. The Covenant With Black America was only the first step.

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