Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Let's Organize the Hood: Memphis 2012 Black Power Conference, June 9th

Let's Organize the Hood: Memphis 2012 Black Power Conference

This Summer, come to Memphis, Tennessee, for "Let's Organize the 'Hood:"
The Memphis Black Power Conference.

Saturday, June 9, 2012, at the Java Complex, 1423 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, TN.

10:00 am to 6:00 pm. All day teach-in on Black community organizing.

Memphis, Tennessee is the poorest big city in the USA, and the 171st (of the top 200) poorest cities in the world. Like many Black population centers, it has many problems: high unemployment and massive poverty, political corruption, racist redlining by banks, huge infant mortality levels, homelessness and hunger, gangbanging and street violence, and many others. What it does not have is a Black radical protest movement against these conditions, and the system of white racism and privilege that produced it. We need to educate, organize, and mobilize the Black community to fight for our own freedom and independence, instead of depending on the white power structure. Our very lives and that of our children, born and unborn, depend on this!

So, we are having this Black Power conference, not to just re-live the 1960's, but to call our people together in a time of deep crisis. We are suffering, and we need answers to get out of it, and dismantle the system that causes it. We are having this conference to build a Black Autonomy Network of Black Community Organizers here in Memphis, and hopefully inspire other activists to build them in other parts of the country. It does not matter where you live in the country, or other parts of North America, you are still part of the larger family.
Clearly, the civil rights movement has failed to understand that we need a protest movement at this time, rather than bending over for politicians, while we and our families starve from poverty and unemployment. The Wall Street bankers and other white businessmen have been bailed out with hundreds of billions of dollars, but what about our communities, who are suffering from more bank redlining, foreclosures, and structural poverty than anyone in this society? Who is looking out for our interest? We have to look out for ourselves!

Regardless of what conservative and liberal politicians alike say, it is not our fault for our oppression, it's theirs and their rich friends who profit from our misery! So we need to organize a new mass Black people's movement, consider our own problems, seriously evaluate our future and move forward. We hope that you can join us in Memphis, TN. on June 9th for this strategy meeting, and that together we can begin to rescue our people, and re-write our legacy.


Why are you having an all-Black conference at this time?

Africans in America must begin to attack and solve many of the own problems. When it was recognized that the government or no one else would address our issues, then historically, we have built their own movements to do just, whether it was the civil rights movement (1956-1965) or the Black Power movement which followed (1965-1975), we have always recognized that we were the ones effected by racism and oppression, and therefore we had to be the ones to resolve our problems. This does not mean that we cannot work with others, but like Malcolm X once said, there must be first Black unity around many political questions, before there can be overall unity [on a class basis]. So, therefore, we are not interested in a so-called "bash whitey" event, we are interested in building a mass movement, an organization of community-based organizers.

What issues will be discussed at this conference?

• Building an anti-poverty and unemployment movement for the millions of Black and low income people out of work;
• Building a mass movement against racist police terror and brutality, and to end racial profiling;
• Youth empowerment and building a revolutionary gang truce.
• Fighting racism and mass imprisonment of millions of Black youth, which is crippling families and their communities.
• How to organize a Black Autonomy chapter in your city to do revolutionary grassroots organizing.

Who should come to this conference?

Activists, educators, students, workers, and many others, in fact, everyone who has looked at the problems of unemployment, poverty, infant mortality, police murder and brutality, and other issues concentrated in the Black community, and said to themselves: "There has to be an answer!" Well, there is, the Black community must organize its own mass movement and most put pressure on those in political office, corporations, and other institutions. Yet, we must all be willing to learn new ideas, and hear new voices and from new leadership not heard from before. This way, real solutions, instead of the political dead ends of the past few years will be presented. Memphis certainly needs such a new path, but this conference could jump-start Black power conferences in other cities and lead to the building of new social movements all over the USA and Canada. This is a Black organizers' conference, that any Black people in our community can attend if they come seeking answers.

You should come because you want solution to what you see in our communities everyday and on the nightly news: unemployed young men on the corner; dead kids at the hands of each other or from the police; massive numbers of Black people thrown into jail and prisons over the drug trade, families starving because unemployment and poverty, and other issues we see but don't understand that this is something we can do something about. We are talking about building solutions to our problems: a new campaign against police brutality and terrorism that includes community self-defense; a Black-led mass movement against poverty and unemployment that includes build a Black solidarity economy, at a time when our community is suffering from depression levels of unemployment, but there is no movement against mass unemployment; e need to talk about how we build a mass movement for youth empowerment and a revolutionary gang truce, in order to turn the youth into community organizers and agents for social change; we will talk about a mass community based movement against racial profiling and deadly police and auxiliary police attacks on Black youth; and finally we need to talk about how to build a movement for Black Autonomy in your city, in order to apply what you have learned at this conference.

How long is this conference and how is it conducted?

Let's Organize The Hood! is a one day event, presented in a modified teach-in style, a strategy meeting for Black community movement building. We will begin at 10:00 am and end at 6:00 pm, and at the end of that time, you will know what to do to build a movement for Black Autonomy in Memphis, or in your city. We give you the facts and what we consider solutions, then we discuss and work together to build organizations that deal with those issues. We do not intend to waste your or our own valuable time with boring speeches or endless lectures, we will come right to the point, tell you the facts, offer solutions, and ask for your help in building a new movement. Our time will be tight and so will be our information, and we cannot conduct endless workshops going absolutely nowhere, like most conferences you may have attended. We can't discuss issues not on our agenda, and we cannot solve all problems. We are holding this conference strictly for the business of movement building, not for socializing or debating other Black movements or leaders.

What about the meeting site?

The Java Complex (formerly known as the Black coffeehouse, "Java, Juice, and Jazz"), is an Afrocentric performance space and meeting hall, which by the time of this conference should have extended facilities for 300 persons after massive renovations. All manner of African-American business, fraternal, and cultural groups have their meetings at this facility. The Java Complex is located at 1423 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, TN., and is fairly close from the Memphis international airport.

Where can I stay in Memphis during this conference?

There are a number of very moderately priced lodgings in the area near the conference site. Thousands of tourists come to Memphis every year, especially in the summer, so please make your motel/hotel reservations ASAP. If you will not be driving. please be aware that the bus company in Memphis, MATA, has poor service, which is particularly bad on the weekends, so you should catch a cab.
Memphis Motels/Hotels -- Price: Under $100 per night (partial list):

.*Motels with a star (*) are 6 miles or less from the conference site

1. Colonial Inn & Suites/Airport
1952 E. Shelby Drive

*2. Econo Lodge Downtown
22 North Third St

*3. Econo Lodge
3419 American Way

*4. Best Western Executive Inn
3105 Millbranch Road

*5. Clarion Hotel
1471 E. Brooks Road

*6. Regency Inn & Suites
2411 Winchester Road

*7. LaQuinta Inn & Suites - Airport
2979 Millbranch Road

8. Extended Stay - Mt. Moriah
6520 Mount Moriah Road

*9. America's Best Value Inn
1360 Springbrook Avenue
$69.99 to $79.99

*10. Motel 6
210 S. Pauline (I-240 @Union Ave./Madison Ave.)

*11. Motel 6
1582 E. Brooks Road

12. LaQuinta Inn & Suites
1236 Primacy Parkway
$75 to $85

*13. Homestead Memphis
2541 Corporate Avenue East
$52.99 to 92.99

*14. Memphis Airport Hotel & Conference Center
2240 Democrat Road

How can I get to the conference site if I am driving?

We suggest that you use online resources like Google Earth, MapQuest, and Yahoo Maps to give you your driving route. They will probably be more precise than any directions we can give you. They will give you "turn-by-turn" street directions from your house directly to the front door of the conference site, and Google Earth can likely even give you a picture of the building! So we suggest that you map your trip out by computer and then come on the road.

How can I get to the conference site if I am flying in?

We suggest that you hail a cab at the airport and go to your hotel the day before the event, or call your hotel and see if they have a shuttle which can pick you up from the airport. Once you have checked in at your hotel, then it is just a matter of getting to the conference site by cab or bus. The location site is at 1423 Elvis Presley Blvd., which is in South Memphis. Most cab drivers are familiar with Java, Juice & Jazz, which is the former name for the Java Complex.

What you can do to help us put on "Let's Organize the Hood: The Memphis Black Power conference?

1. Buy a ticket online to the event for $15. We will then have your package waiting at the front desk when you arrive. If you cannot attend the event, then why not buy a ticket and allow another person to attend?
2. Donate money to the cause. Your $5, $10, $20 [and more] donation will allow us to purchase items to make the conference a more enjoyable experience for all. Send your donations to our PayPal payment gateway at:, or if you prefer the safety of surface mail, please send it to Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, Memphis Black Power Conference 2012, P.O. Box 16382, Memphis, TN. 38186-0382
3. If you live in Memphis, you can donate food and paper products. Please call (901) 337-2492, or send an email to us at, tell us where it is located, and we will gladly come and pick it up. Thank you for your generosity.
4. Please let others know about the conference by sending articles to your local newspaper, or social media networks, by calling radio/TV talk shows, to encourage Black people to attend the event.

**For more information about the conference and receive updates for all preparations for the event, please go to our Facebook page, MemphisBlackPowerConference2012.

Memphis Black Power Conference

Tentative Schedule

Let's Organize the Hood:
Memphis Black Power Conference: June 9, 2012
Java Complex, 1423 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, Tennessee

10-11:30 a.m. : Organizing a Black Movement
To Fight Poverty and Unemployment

11:30-11:45 a.m.:Break

11:45-1:15 p.m.: Organizing a Black Movement to Fight Racial Profiling and Police Brutality

1:15-1:30 p.m.: Break

1:30-2:45 p.m.: Organizing a Movement To Fight the
Mass Imprisonment of Black Youth

2:45-3 p.m.: Break

3-4:30 p.m.: Organizing a Progressive Youth Empowerment Movement and a Revolutionary Gang Truce

4:30-4:45 p.m.: Break

4:45-5:45 p.m.: Organizing a Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers

5:45-6 p.m.: Announcements, Conference Wrap-Rise Up

Here a fascinating interview w/Bro. Kom'boa Ervin, Conference Organizer, available at

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