I’m just going to say it.
The reason why many so many historically black organizations on Long Island lack credibility in the community is because you have the same “seasoned” folks running all of them. I attended an event back in September that was co-sponsored by about 4 different groups. Some of these women had on blazers for one organization, while rocking pins, yes, pins with an “s”, for another, and not knowing which elevator pitch to use when attendees asked questions about getting involved. I get it, similar to them, I too have been a financially active member of several community-based organizations at a time that shared similar missions and objectives. However, I always knew how to establish a fair balance of what talents I brought to the table for each. I quickly realized how important it was to be intentional with my efforts, and strategic of how I supported the organization’s growth and impact.
When I left the event I couldn’t help but wonder; where is the diversity in thought, skills, or resources when the membership of one group is the exact same for the others? How do these groups plan to challenge the status quo when all of their members are, the status quo? I was compelled to comment on this because I once was a member of one of the groups, and of course, the generational gap and lack of respect from its leadership lead me to not renew my dues for another year.
Now, before I get attacked, let me take the time to acknowledge my baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) folks who continuously pour into my growth and development as a leader and influencer. (The fact that I even needed to say that is also annoying, but I’ll digress from the topic of people generalizing perspectives when it comes to conversations such as this one).
Why is it that so many people have a hard time letting go of their titles? I mean, I would love to have a real conversation around this. What is so precious about a “title” on paper? Are they afraid of losing some sort of clout in the community? Will they no longer have access to certain resources and information? Perhaps some of these organizations should consider voting in some amendments to the bylaws that implement term limits. It seems like turning social action/justice organizations into social clubs has become the focus… oops!
Don’t worry, I’m not complaining, simply explaining. Let’s put the pride aside and think progressively. We have so much to learn from one another. Strategic planning that’s inclusive of all generations, sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings can be a beautiful thing. We must learn from each other and identify ways to combine the experience and expertise from both. Our elders can no longer transition with so much wisdom yet to be shared. Our younger generations should not repeat the mistakes of those who have already found solutions. Ultimately, it’s about family, community, togetherness. No one person can, or has, done it alone. It’s a WE thing, an US thing.
“The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, me, and do not necessarily reflect the organizations or networks I am affiliated with.” – Drea Janelle #ADLeveledUp
Follow Andrea on instagram @drea_d0821