Loading...
 

Say No to Hate: Nathaniel Smith

One of the most important problems facing America is the widening income inequality/economic mobility gap. For many, the “American Dream” is just that, a dream they will never realize. Many of the social and political challenges we are dealing with today stem from this problem.

Nathaniel Smith is founder and CEO of the Atlanta-based Partnership for Southern Equity, presenting the Just Energy Summit 2018, Sept. 21-22 at Morehouse College with the Just Energy Circle.

Say No To Hate 1

Nathaniel Smith: One of the most important problems facing America is the widening income inequality/economic mobility gap. For many, the “American Dream” is just that, a dream they will never realize. Many of the social and political challenges we are dealing with today stem from this problem. Unfortunately, as always, issues created by economic inequality are more pronounced in communities of color. Even in a majority black city like Atlanta the median annual family income for a black family is a little over 26K, for whites over 81k. Although Atlanta continues to be considered the “Black Mecca,” we remain the top city for income inequality and in the top five for the lack of economic mobility for our poor kids, who only have a 5 percent chance to rise out of poverty.

Say No To Hate 2

Nathaniel Smith: We’ve got to first acknowledge the exploitive nature of our local and national economy. We’ve got to begin to put people, not profit, at the center of how we define economic competitiveness. We’ve got to acknowledge the racial history of our economy; that in the South our economy was jumpstarted by the exploitation of free labor for centuries, and that the exploitation (and exclusion) of the poor and communities of color continue today. We’ve got to focus on creating more economies that grow local businesses and local talent owned by women and people of color. Lastly, we’ve got to develop housing, transportation, and energy policies/options that are more focused on creating economic opportunities for vulnerable consumers and communities of color.

Say No To Hate 3

Nathaniel Smith: Grassroots activism has always been and will continue to be a key component of any transformational movement in this country. When the people are mobilized, things change. Grassroots activism is one of the purest forms of our participatory democracy. It is the place where the people can organize their voices in ways they may not be able to organize money or information for positive change.


Say No To Hate 4

Nathaniel Smith: I believe it can be a viable platform for protesting. However, it cannot be the only tool we depend on for information. We saw in our last election how social media can be utilized to advance anti-justice agendas based on misinformation and fear. Social media also leaves little room for dialogue among individuals with opposing points of views. I think that in itself, social media encourages folks to gravitate towards people and information consistent with their current views about society versus people who may have alternative yet valid points of view.

Say No To Hate 5

Nathaniel Smith: That’s a good question, I’m not sure. A little bit of social and print media. Also, my personal network of community leaders and stakeholders.

Say No To Hate 6

Nathaniel Smith: Invest in good schools, housing, and infrastructure for all people. Care about the future of kids you may not be inclined to know. Use your privilege to create room for dialogue and the organization of “uncommon allies” for equity.




{DIV(class="other")}Related:
Say No to Hate Main Page
Hip-Hop Activism in Atlanta & Athens
Echos of the '60s — MC5 founder Wayne Kramer discusses the problems of today
From the stage to the streets — an interview with Atlanta musician Ray Dafrico
Activist Organizations in Atlanta
{DIV}
{DIV(class="other small")} AND 784"}
{sort mode="tracker_field_contentDate_asc"}
{output(template="themes/CreativeLoafing/templates/search_results.tpl")}
{FORMAT(name="objectlink")}{display name="title" format="objectlink"}{FORMAT}
{FORMAT(name="photos")}{display name="wikiplugin_img" format="wikiplugin" fileId="tracker_field_photos" height="250" responsive="y" default="fileId=106"}{FORMAT}
{FORMAT( name="desc")}{display name="tracker_field_description" format="snippet" length="900" default="No description provided"}{FORMAT}
{LIST}