On April 24, 1867, the Ku Klux Klan held its first national meeting in a bid to organize and build structure among their many disparate groups. In 2013, one hundred forty six years later, the klan still exists.
On Wednesday I spent the entire evening surfing through Ku Klux Klan affiliated websites. I read their literature, watched videos, and scanned through a ton of pictures. I even went so far as to attempt to join so that I can see the application process for myself. I must say that it was quite an eye opening experience. Although the outward projection of anger and hatred has diminished significantly, the values that the Klan hold near and dear to their heart have not changed a bit. They say that they no longer preach hate, now they only preach love.
I guess there's a bridge in the middle of some swamp land that someone wants me to buy also.
You might wonder why I am writing about the Klan. I'm writing for the same reason that I write about Claudette Colvin. I believe that if we have an understanding of the events that shaped our "American Experience" we'll be better positioned to discuss and address similar issues that we're facing today. I'm not a proponent of living in the past, the past is done, dead, and buried. What happened, happened and there's nothing we can do about that. What we can do is use our knowledge of the past to avoid future pitfalls
The movie "42" opened with rave reviews and high ratings. I found it to be a heartwarming movie with a wonderful "heroic" storyline. Jackie Robinson was indeed a trailblazer who paved the way for generations of athletes to come. It takes a person of character and strong intestinal fortitude to endure what Robinson went through in those early years. In an article by Mark Newman on the MLB.com website, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is quoted saying:
"I've often said that baseball's proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field,...and '42' captures that event brilliantly."
Although every professional sport played today has been integrated, when it comes to ownership things are quite different. A Philadelphia Tribune article written in October 2011 stated a stark reality. In 122 sports ownership groups (32 NFL teams, and 30 each in the other three sports), there was just one Black majority owner among all of those franchises, in all of those sports. In 2011 basketball great Michael Jordan was the sole African American with a majority interest in a professional sports team, the Charlotte Bobcats.
Today marks the first anniversary of the creation of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility, launched in 2012 to promote and support programs, initiatives, and events that address some of the social, economic and political issues facing us today. We’ve come a long way in our first year and we’re looking forward to many years of service to our community at large. I hope that in some small way we’ve helped you to become more socially aware. I hope that we’ve inspired you to continue being socially responsible
When I created the Marketplace the concept was quite simple, leverage social media to provide a vehicle for individuals to collaborate, unite, and effect change. My vision was clear and has not changed. I believe that if we create a mechanism for us to communicate and share information, a “Marketplace” of sorts, we will be in a better position to collaborate and work collectively.
This is the reason the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility was created.
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.