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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington
Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

The African Street Festival is a taste of culture now for 41 years of the North Nashville community.  I say North Nashville because it is the home of the ASF all of those 41 year amongst the Community where three historically black colleges and universities have called home now since 1866.

Last Week’s Festival was a reminder of earlier years when ASF moved from Tennessee State University’s Campus into Hadley Park.  There were Two Circles of Vendors, like we had not seen in several years.

If I had reason to talk about the food, I could not ever identify the greatness.  Some have remained… every year!  Only now, in this space to mention the Chiefs and Cooks, and you will know them by how long you will stand on the street to get their food.

And the music.  Sounds of every generation… through the sounds of Africa and Jamaica, and never to forget, the music was through the sounds of Jefferson Street.

And the dance.  I even get a “Wobble” in… every year!

Movement from education to knowledge is in the adding of Kwame Lillard’s name to the Hadley Park.  How great an honor the Founder, Visionaire of ASF could have.  As we look at how this ASF since 1983 has come full effect as the premier Black Economics venture for Nashville, it causes me to return to some very powerful words written by Dr. Claud Anderson:

 “Affirmative Action programs were originally intended to be corrective action for Black Americans, but immigrants, to whom this country does not have a debt, have been defined as new minorities, therefore eligible for inclusion in Affirmative Action. Knowledgeable of the law, immigrants set foot on American soil and demand preferential treatment. The result: Asians receive approximately 80% of the federal government’s 8(a) set-a-sides. According to recent statistics, in Southwestern states like Texas, White women receive 78 % of the state contracts, Hispanics 21 % and Black businessmen only 9/10ths of one percent. Blacks should protest and demand that immigrants be removed from Affirmative Action programs. Inclusion should require any group to prove how the United States government systematically and historically excluded them from access to the nation’s economic, social and educational systems. If the case cannot be made, then there are no damages or injury. Blacks should demand that immigrants must be excluded from Affirmative Action programs and denied preferential treatment and access to government resources. They cannot make the case and do not qualify for “corrective” action.

In business and job development, Blacks are ignored or displaced by immigrants with the approval and participation of government and major corporations. For instance, in the last five years, the federal government has instituted personnel policies that require managers to increase Hispanic hiring. It has sponsored seminars specifically for Asian, Arab and Hispanic immigrants on doing business with the federal government, procurement opportunities and business development strategies.

No comparable initiative focused solely on Blacks. In Montgomery County, Maryland for instance, a coalition of 300 major white corporations came together to provide business assistance and to direct contracts, procurement opportunities and business assistance specifically to Asians, Arabs and Hispanics. In Detroit, major companies including Ford Motors and General Motors began similar programs.

Blacks must renegotiate their relationship with governments and corporations, stating clearly that we will not allow them to displace us and award other ethnic groups for unearned loyalty and for the physical labor Blacks invested to build great companies. Relationship renegotiation could include a variety of measures such as national boycotts, selective buying, withholding taxes, protests, marches or other public demonstrations.”  (Claud Anderson)

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