All posts by James Posey

Georgia on my Mind

Georgia On My Mind.

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I am beginning to love the of state of Georgia. All my life I’ve thought of the South as a foreign country hostile to black people. My folk is originally from Mississippi and I never heard anything good from them about that state or the surrounding states. But in the last year or so I began to change my opinion specifically about Georgia. If you think about it, Georgia saved our beacon in the last election. And it had to be a bunch of rednecks who saw how ridiculously crazy Trump was and couldn’t stand it anymore. Fast forward to today’s Ahmaud Arbery verdicts and again, a mostly white jury rescues the country from racist insanity. Southern white people in Georgia are Heroes, re-establishing some sense of justice. They get my applause and application. Thank God for decent, fair-minded white people, especially those in the South. The discernment is not universal, less we forget Rittenhouse and Wisconsin.

Pastor Hennessee Steps Up.

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Pastor Hennessee Steps Up

I am so glad one of our acknowledged community leaders is stepping up to support common-sense measures to improve the safety and liveability of Portland. Thanks, Rev. Hennessee.  Those who consider themselves leaders and are now slilent are contributing to the problem. We must immediately knock down those insane ideas of defunding the police and give Ted Wheeler the ability to show a backbone. He needs to and stop trying to act like he is mending the fence after letting all horses out the gate. Again, try to heal the damage JoAnn Hardesty has caused and make sure there is broad-based community oversight.

Portland is now a spooky, dirty and unsafe city on Halloween 2021

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Portland is now a spooky, dirty and unsafe city on Halloween 2021

I’m not a Halloween guy but since it’s Halloween I want to tell you why I’m scared.  Look around Portland you can see how bad things have gotten and this is enough to make anybody scared. It’s spooky that the City is in such a mess. I can’t help but think about what Daryl Turner said, something like “this town has turned into a cesspool”. I have to agree with him. I just wanted everybody to know it doesn’t have to be this way. I hold all these public elected officials responsible at all levels.
I just returned from Indianapolis, my home town and never in my life would I have predicted I would say that Naptown is a cleaner, better ran city than Stumptown. It is truly a tale of two cities and Indy wins hands down.
I don’t want to criticize without trying to do something about it. That’s why I support the Coalition Black Men with their graffiti abatement program and have joined People for Portland’s effort to hold elected officials accountable for their lack of leadership.
The big thing is, I am going to work hard to get JoAnn Hardesty removed from office. I will work just as hard to get her out as I did to help her get elected. She is a problem and not a solution. I made a big mistake supporting her.

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Portland is sick:

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Billy Webb Elks will Rebound

This is our place

The fire at Billy Webb Elks last week brought sad thoughts about how fragile black institutions and organizations continue to be. It is not the first time I have witnessed a boarded-up Elks (see before 2008 remodel). The truth is that many of us have recognized it is and continues to be one of the few black-owned and led properties and organizations of any size in Oregon. So, it is sad to watch this incident after so many well-meaning, community-mined people of all races worked so hard to build up this property and organization. But let’s be clear, black people are absolutely resilient and they may be down, but don’t count us out.
Since its remodel by NAMC-Oregon (the National Association of Minority Contractors) in 2008 the building has served multiple community purposes. It has been the go-to place for all kinds of community events focused on making the community a better place to live and inspiring us to live a better life. This summer it became a popular place for a Street Market and Pop Up Entrepreneurs. It was beautiful watching the young people do their thing and the building being used as an instrument for black progress. Let’s get busy and help them get back up and running again soon.

Reflections

Sometimes we take for granted those who make a difference in our community. I had a brief opportunity to show my appreciation to O.B. Hill at his 80th birthday celebration this past weekend. We are friends and I have collaborated with him in several community organizations and events. He truly is a unique individual with multiple talents.  Among his talents is his ability to capture, chart, and display historical black events in Portland. We lost the display part when the Reflections Coffee/Book store closed several years ago.  But O.B. at 80 continues to capture and chart Portland’s history through a black community lens. Check him out because he is a real Portland treasure.

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Forty Acres and a Mule

 

My summary of the AVT Juneteenth zoom event is as follows:

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Yesterday I sat in on the Albina Vision Trust (AVT) Juneteenth zoom, which was an effective theatrical production. The star of the show was Rukalyah and was directed by Steven Green and Cupid Alexander. They played the Avel Gordly (for who I have always had high respect) tribute to full effect and preached high rhetoric about the virtues of the Albina Vision. I could not help to think that many of these same individuals signed on to the disgraced former NAACP president E.D. Mondaine’s agenda and went down that rabbit hole with his vision and leadership. Rukalyah waxed eloquently about flying high on the wings of a dove to bring the black community back together again.

And as I listen to talk about this utopian vision described as blue skies and bliss on the top of the highway covers, I kept thinking; these are the same folks who can’t keep our streets clean, stop the scaring and trashing of our highway corridors, stop the encroachment of the homeless camps, arrest the graffiti criminals destroying property everyday, close the education achievement gap, and keep our police force from being in a state of chaos and stop gun violence. Yet, they would have all of us believe that they can execute a plan to make black people whole. They are the ones envisioning a promised land for black people on top of a heavily traveled highway. I kept thinking I do not need to rain on this parade about Juneteenth and the national holiday but I am not feeling free. White people are going to continue to commercialize this event like they have done the MLK holiday and black people will still be broke-ass poor and begging. Just give me my 40 acres and mule and stop the BS.

A new twist in AVT’s mantra revealed in this meeting was the advent of a world-class workforce incorporated in the Vision. I guess this was a way to throw a bone to the black contractors and blue-collar opposition to the Vision. I guess some one realized that there is the question of what comes first, the chicken or the egg. It has dawned on somebody that their perceived utopia cannot be sustained without the inhabitants having the ability to pay the rent. However, they continue to mislead the community about the consequences of a delay in the process. They continue to attribute this to mischief by ODOT attempting to divide the black community and ODOT seeking to deny black people access to stolen land.

Finally, it was tragic to hear Earl Blumenauer admitting that black people pay more in gas taxes and contribute more to the carbon foot print than whites. Yet he knows this is taxation without representation and has watched for decades billions of dollars flow into Oregon’s economy and black people receive next to zero economic benefits. His hypocrisy and those who collaborate with him are breathtaking. Albert Lee knows what I am talking about.

I was thinking as I listened to these folks, what universe do they live in? Living down the street from Dawson Park keeps me grounded and I could not hear what the AVT zoom presenters were saying, because I can see what they do.

Happy Father’s day to the ultimate Father who art in Heaven.

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The Mercury Tries to make Hay

The Mercury tries to make hay with the Black I-5 dispute.

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But here is my response:

Ms. Garica,

While I thought, your article did explain the generic thoughts expressed in the NAACP meeting it failed to discuss the underlying concerns of some community members. First, the AVT vision is a concept proposal and an approach with no proven performance anywhere. While they try to dress it up with a few well-known black leaders, at its core are white developers with no proven commitment or evidence of economic empowerment for the black community. In fact, to the contrary, at least one of them has made a fortune off the misery of black people while fostering token inclusion partnerships. http://www.golocalpdx.com/search/fb91595de3e5159d44c6fde6384eb9eb/

Next, many of us question the viability of putting low-income housing on top of a highway knowing that Portland is adjacent to or on an earthquake fault line and we all are waiting for the Big One.  We also see the hypocrisy of screaming about air pollution at Tubman middle school while fostering a highway cover housing project most likely to end up like Cabrini Green but be worst because it will function as an auto emissions tailpipe to the heavens. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cabrini-Green

Then there is the doublespeak about ownership scenarios, which amounts to long lease arrangements at best. In addition, if the AVT proposal sounds good in fantasy, the construction business and jobs model alternative are imperative in practice to reach any level of economic capacity and sustainable self-sufficiency within the Black community. Waiting or delaying instead of achieving both proposed objectives could mean losing both opportunities.

Finally, AVT puts a target on ODOT’s back when they know that all of the government agencies are complicit in the demise of black people’s circumstances in this community. They have given cover to the City of Portland, Metro, Prosper Portland, Multnomah County, and others who contribute to ongoing racist institutionalized systems responsible for the dire economic conditions that hobble the black community. It is irresponsible journalism to neglect that aspect of the story.

As someone who has seen the various movements to improve the economic conditions of black people, I know that programs might have good intentions but in real life, it is the execution that has failed the best-laid plans. The construction business model offered is unique (like nowhere in the country) and is pre-imminent in its ability to execute a restorative/restoration plan. I have seen it. The problems and issues of the black community will never be solved in the absence of a proven execution agent.

James Posey

 

 

The I-5 Rose Quarter project-Dr Claud Anderson had it Right

Dr. Claud Anderson had it RIGHT

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We are at a crossroads, let’s not blow it this time.

The untimely issues raised around ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter construction project have caused me to consider deeper issues about Black folks in Portland. My question to our community: Who has historically benefitted from the many developments that we have seen, especially in N-NE Portland? I’m talking about the very developments that have further marginalized and scattered us as a people.

Just look around our community at the many construction projects that have helped gentrify our neighborhood and tell me who has benefited? So what makes you think that things will be different this time around when most of the players are white men who have done very little to truly aid and empower our community. Many of these people have profited greatly on the backs of the community, increasing their wealth through mixed-use, low-income housing developments that we were told would empower us and keep our people in the neighborhood.

Look around inner N/NE Portland and ask yourself one simple question: Did it work? And seriously, are we so naïve to think things will be different this time? In the ’80s, we had “Reaganomics” which showed that trickle-down economic theory did not work for black people. The rich became richer, and as a group, Black people are in worse shape now economically than we have ever been. But don’t get me wrong, I am pro-development if Black people control it at every level. This means it needs to be substantial enough that our community can capitalize, finance, build, own, and benefit from the generational wealth that it creates.

Unfortunately, we have always had many Judases in our community who are more than willing to sell us out for 30 pieces of something. Yes, the Black slave catchers still exist. And yes, there were actual house slaves that worked hand in hand with the master to further white superiority and supremacy. As a result, our people perished due to their lack of knowledge. Finally, it is time for people to wake up and look beyond the propaganda that is constantly being fed to them and realize that it is a psychological operation to further weaken us and keep us divided.

We need to stop depending on this governmental system, along with white benevolence, that by design is set up to keep us always wanting and thus in an inferior position. Your voices need to be heard now. Consider: economics through living-wage jobs and industry entrepreneurship has always been needed to establish and build a healthy and vibrant community. Black people must have a consistent means to bring dollars into their community. Once these dollars are in the community, we can then start the true re-building process by our own hands and create wealth by keeping those dollars circulating amongst ourselves. Hence the beauty and nail salons, barbershops, restaurants, art and entertainment venues, and other service-oriented businesses make up a healthy vibrant community, all flowing from a strong economic base.

Although it is not the only form for economic growth, the construction industry is critical to a community due to reduced barriers to entry without needing to incur much debt. Generally, all one needs to be successful is to show up consistently, have a positive attitude, and a good work ethic to establish a living-wage career. In addition, there are many professional positions that folks can grow into without a formal education, including becoming a business owner.

This country was built on the free labor of slaves who possessed many trade skills in 1865. I submit that the systemic policies put in place over the last 120 years transferred those skills from the Black population to the majority population along with much of the economics and wealth that has been created since emancipation.

Black people in Portland have not always understood that a bird in the hand is worth more than a bunch in the bush. And I pray that they don’t follow Dorthey down a yellow brick road and are smart enough to look behind the curtain and see who is pulling the strings. In other words, Black folks have a chance to go with an authentic black man and an organization with proven results focused on self-economic empowerment that is openly shared and designed to improve every aspect of Black life in Portland. I hope and pray we don’t blow it by following false prophets instead.

The Portland Branch of the NAACP is having a discussion Sunday 12:00 to 1 PM let your voices be heard.

Meeting link: Zoom link

Meeting ID: 889 6818 1081

Passcode: 312194