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Recently, this particular Facebook post that I came across involved the person’s frustration on race and politics. 

The question was asked “How can we hold Black politicians accountable?”  Below is the following discussion beginning with my response (G.M.) to the original poster (O.P.): 

G.M.: Formula for holding politicians accountable: Money  

O.P.: For rich people. What about the middle class, working poor and poor? 

G.M.: Collective economic political power. Your local Black Chambers of Commerce are designed perfectly for that kind of business and community/political collective structure and advocacy. 

O.P.: How long are we supposed to wait on y’all? 

G.M.: Tell me exactly what you mean by “wait on y’all.” 

O.P.: Your organization, Indy Black Chamber of Commerce. How is your organization taking the lead on a solution? 

G.M.: The filter that you are framing the Chamber in is not an effective one. The Chamber is an effective economic tool to be used by the community it represents. That means it needs the community it represents to support and participate in it.  The “leader/follower” model does not work. The Asian and Hispanic communities are leaps and bounds ahead of us in doing exactly as I am describing it. 

We all need to actively (starting today) join and participate in the Indy Black Chamber of Commerce. Here is the link www.indybcc.org 

O.P.: People are out here supporting Black-owned business without being a part of your organization. What type of statement has your organization made against these senseless executions of Black males? Everyone who claims to lead is not a leader, and some people refuse to just follow anyone or jump and join an organization. 

G.M.: If you were actively a part of the organization, you would know the answers to your questions. Statistically speaking, people in our community are nowhere near the level of Black business support that they should be. However, I can tell that you have serious misgivings about the Chamber. Unfortunately, that is what is collectively holding us back, the raised expectations of our own community that can never be met under this paradigm of mistrust.

Unfortunately, after several attempts at reaching out and inviting this person to come and be a part of the Black Chamber of Commerce, it was to no avail. This person’s negative emotion toward our organization was too strong and prevented her from seeing the big picture solution.  The foundational component to our overall solution is the creation and maintenance of an independent economic base, of which a primary component is a Chamber of Commerce. 

If you do some general research on the structural workings and value of an effective Chamber of Commerce, you will find the following: 

  1. It is a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. 
  1. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. 
  1. The chamber of commerce is an organization of citizens who are investing their time and money in a community development program working together to improve the economic, civic and cultural well-being of the area. 
  1. The main function of a Chamber of Commerce is to promote interest in local business possibilities. Money, planning, inspiration and guidance, depends on the members working vigorously on the committees of their choice. 
  1. Careful study is made of the community needs and an action plan is designed. 
  1. The goal of the action plan is to improve the economic welfare of the community. The Chamber works for industrial and business development. 
  1. It works toward the increasing development of highways, recreational areas, new industries and the expansion of existing industries. 
  1. The Chamber provides an expanding market for construction, real estate and insurance professionals by promoting business and attracting new industries and residents. Potential customers are referred to members on a daily basis. 

These characteristics describe and reflect the collectiveness of the group that the Chamber represents. Each community member is significantly involved and takes personal responsibility. 

In part two of this article we will analyze the mindset of the community as displayed in the originator’s Facebook post. 

George Middleton is a therapist and author promoting a series of works addressing race and mental health.  For more information contact him at gmmusique@cs.com.

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