Do you know anyone who can (insert skill here)?
This all started as a FaceBook post, but I'm trying to do better so I wrote a blog post. I was busy doing nothing with my time-off and thinking about all of the things that our people consistently ask for and it's all normal stuff. One post from someone looking for a notary public made me extra curious about where we could put our money and time in 2018. How can we be more intentional about skill-building so that our folks can eat AND afford to come to the organizing meeting every week? I'm NOT suggesting that people have to be quarantined into any of these as their sole professions. At the same time, so many of our people are unemployed -- so many people in my own organization are unemployed. This absolutely impacts how people show up and if they can show up at all.
I've also been asking myself, where does long-term organizing for transformation meet material needs (real life needs) in an economy set up to fail anyone who isn't rich? In the slew of structural changes we can fight for and create, there are some things we can do right now. To that end, I believe that many of our grassroots organizations can and should put aside a small portion of our budgets to #FundBlackFutures in a different way.
We have to be ready when we win -- because we're going to win y'all. But activists aren't always the best people to make a vision fully real. Who is going to wire the homes we build on liberated land? Who is going to work the bar at our fundraising parties/weddings/birthday parties so that our local PD doesn't show up looking for an excuse to shut our shit down? Lastly, who is going to feed people (good food) if the GOP delivers on its threat to dismantle the food stamp program? We gotta build a strong team.
So here's what I'm thinking we can pay for, while meeting needs and doing long-term work on in 2018:
1) Bartending Licenses
2) Electrician, Brick Mason, Plumbing, Solar Installation and Eco-Friendly Construction certifications
3) Notary Public certifications
4) Project Management Professional certifications (PMP)
5) Income Tax Preparation courses
6) Food Service & Safety licenses
7) Childcare licenses
8) Ordained Minister licenses (this can also help some of us get into jails/prisons to do work)
9) Real Estate courses and licenses
10) Permaculture Installation training and certification
11) Nail Technician training and licensing
12) Nursing Assistant certification (CNA)
13) American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter training and licenses
So many of these things are offered by people we don't know for a fee. Our people should be able to do these things and we should support them in making it happen.
What am I missing? Please add more and let me know if you're already supporting this type of thing or plan to. P.S. be sure to scroll down and sign-up for my mailing list.