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?
Amen continued, “Unfortunately, we’re still dealing with the same problems we had 50-60 years ago. Imagine if we supported and promoted the different companies and organizations that were focused on solving the major problems in our community, but in different ways. As individuals, we wouldn’t have to invest a lot of time, money, or effort because we’d be doing this on a national level.”
Amen’s company is www.3UFirst.com, created specifically to solve major problems in our community by bringing some of the trillion dollars we spend every year outside our community back to our community. Additionally, the money we spend on the 3UFirst site will create jobs, business and investment opportunities, provide sponsorships, build wealth and fund nonprofits.
The three U’s represent Umoja (Unity), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), and Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility). Those principles kind of say it all, don’t they? Question is: Do we merely celebrate them or do we practice them?
What impressed me most about Terrance Amen was his appreciation for reciprocity, one of the principles of Ma’at. He did not approach me with an “I have THE answer” egotistical attitude. He did his research on me as well; he bought and read my books and, as a result, he joined http://www.iamoneofthemillon.com. Before he asked for my support, he supported what we in THE One Million are doing and is now planning to attend our next Training and Orientation gathering in Los Angeles in July 2017.
Go to Brother Amen’s website and listen to what he has to say. If you agree, then contact him to see where you can work collaboratively on a goal that all of us agree is well worth our time and resources: economic empowerment.
Jim Clingman is the founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached through http://www.blackonomics.com.