Here’s a quick snapshot from the Tides Momentum 2009 conference in San Francisco. Alexis McGill Johnson led a conversation between Rep. Donna Edwards & Ben Jealous of the NAACP.

It was an interesting chat. Johnson did a great job introducing tough subjects with a touch of humor.

Donna Edwards says on the relevance of the NAACP: “The NAACP now has the opportunity to organize across lines of immigration, income and environment.” We’ll see about that. She also said of the challenges facing majority-black communities: “some things are about race and some are about leadership.” hmm, there’s that personal responsibility thing again. I like Donna. I met her during her first unsuccessful campaign againt Al Wynn. My mom lives in her district so I’m rooting for her. She’s emerged as an important leader in only 8 months in office. Leadership is important.

Jealous compared payday lending’s top rates of interest – 1200% to that of sharecropping – 40% which made some ancestors flip around in their graves. My great-granddaddy was a sharecropper in VA and I know he’d hope we’d be doing better not worse on that front.

All in all, I’m glad I braved the scary bay area traffic sitch (the bay bridge has a crack and is closed again tomorrow – traffic is backed up all over town). Gave me some things to think about in terms of what new black leadership can be. And what it ain’t.

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