The three U’s – Umoja, Ujamaa, Ujima

JAMES CLINGMAN | 5/29/2017, 9:11 a.m.
A few weeks ago, I received a call from a brother in northern California; his name is Terrance Amen.


A few weeks ago, I received a call from a brother in northern California; his name is Terrance Amen. He wanted to share his economic empowerment plan with me and get my opinion. Subsequently, he sent an email link to his website and videos that explained his vision and concept. Of course, after decades of hearing and seeing plan after plan on how we can move ourselves out of the economic ditch, I couldn’t help but be a little skeptical and lukewarm as I delved into his information.

After checking it out, I called him to ask a few questions and offer any advice I could to the brother. He was open to my feedback, and he was humble enough to accept the fact that he did not have all the answers and that, as a relatively new kid on the block, he had to first establish himself, build relationships with the right folks and then gain the support needed to bring his concept to full fruition. I liked and appreciated that in him.

Everything is built on good relationships, and Amen had reached out to me and others to do just that. My first piece of advice was for him to contact other folks who have similar projects; I gave him several names and websites to which he could reach out. I questioned him about the practicality of his project as well as a couple of issues that will surely be raised by “our” people. Been there done that, if you know what I mean.

Brother Amen explained everything to me in a well thought-out and well-prepared manner. His primary rationale for his project is a commonality among all Black consumers: purchasing products and services, not only from Black people but from everyone else.

He shared with me, “There are companies and organizations that are focused on solving the problems in the Black community, but we don’t work together for the common good of the community. So why don’t we work together? Is it ego, selfishness, distrust or could it be all the above? In order to solve the major problems in our community, we must form alliances to help each other accomplish our goals. There are many different ways to solve the problems in our community. But if we continue to do things on an individual basis, we divide our power, which makes it harder to solve our problems.”

Amen suggested we form alliances and focus collectively on economics. He promoted working together, collaborating and pooling our resources and voting as a solid bloc to leverage political power. Now he had my attention. I told him about THE One Million and our plans for economic and political empowerment, and he and I were off and running. He reflected, “If there are different companies and organizations out there with the same goals, for example, focusing on Black economics, but aren’t working together, we dilute our money, time, effort and resources. But if we collaborate and work together to achieve the same goals, we would be able to maximize our full potential.” Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?