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New Year’s resolutions for Black America in 2016

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. | 1/1/2016, 8 a.m.
Whenever we begin a new calendar year, it can be useful to make New Year’s Resolutions to prioritize and focus ...

— Whenever we begin a new calendar year, it can be useful to make New Year’s Resolutions to prioritize and focus for the immediate future. Beyond the traditional litany of making very personal and oftentimes private resolutions at the beginning of a new year, black America as a whole, I believe, should be vocal and public about our determination to keep pushing forward for freedom, justice, equality and economic empowerment.

What should be our collective goals and strategic objectives over the next 12 months? Recent academic studies by the Dominican University of California on the importance of “goal setting” to overcome individual and social procrastination revealed that writing down your resolutions and sharing your goals with others that you care about will help you work more diligently to achieve those goals.

Every time I pick up and read a black-owned newspaper in America during this season of annual proclamation, it is always informative to see a written list of New Year Resolutions that challenge black America to continue strive for excellence and achievement in all fields of endeavor. I am obviously proud of the trusted impact of the Black Press of America. Check us out at www.NNPA.org and ww.BlackPressUSA.com.

We have another critical election year coming up in 2016 and the black American vote will have to be mobilized in every primary election and across the nation next November in elections in every precinct in every state, county by county. Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts, therefore, will be a top priority and we must collectively resolve that in 2016 we will ensure the largest voter turnout of black voters in the history of the United States.

Remember, we had a record voter turnout of black voters both in 2008 and in 2012. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “66.2 percent of blacks who voted in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites who did so. This marks the first time that blacks have voted at a higher rate than whites since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996.”

We cannot afford to let the black vote be taken for granted in 2016. Politics and economics are inseparable in the United States. Yet, even though black Americans spend in excess of $1.2 trillion annually in the nation’s economy, that kind of spending volume has not translated into real economic power: increasing the ownership of global businesses and billion-dollar revenue generating investments. We still have a long way to go to achieve economic equality and parity in America.

We should resolve, therefore, in 2016 to improve and expand the economic development of black American families and communities. Although the American economy continues to recover under the Obama Administration, for black Americans we have not closed the wealth gap. White Americans today have 12 times the wealth of black Americans. We must without hesitation and apology, be more determined to end poverty and to generate more wealth for black America. Therefore, we join in complete solidarity with the resolve of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) in the goal of striving to increase black homeownership in 2016.