Unity, independence, diligence, investment, determination, creativity, and faith mark the global celebration of Kwanzaa during the last week of every year. The celebration forges a transition from the season of joy to the season of justice. It is one of the two greatest legacies of the international black renaissance that erupted from the ashes of the First World War. Kwanzaa and Black History Month remind everyone about the struggle for human equality over the last five hundred years. The Harlem Renaissance (that also occurred in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and dozens of other communities) embodied Alain Locke’s claim that ‘the new spirit is awake in the masses.’ The next decade inaugurates a more transformative moment for all humanity.
New revolutionaries worldwide are building transnational communities in both the greatest cities and the smallest towns. Their businesses will make the knowledge and insights of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama the foundation for culture and commerce over the next century. A network of intellectuals have begun this work individually in millions of projects, but the culmination and integration of their efforts is the next step forward over the global election cycles of 2014-2016.
John Jennings of the University of Buffalo leads an array of global artists envisioning an afro-futurist world where technology and biology transform human epistemology. Venus Evans-Winters of the University of Illinois uses a media declaration to break the stranglehold on expression and communication that conglomerates hold. Sandy Darity at Duke University creates blueprints to end global poverty and facilitate equitable resource distribution. Quintard Taylor at the University of Washington writes inclusive histories that demonstrate individual and community resilience. Reginald Hudlin in Los Angeles crafts films, television series, and Internet outlets that reshape popular consciousness about these ideas.
Theresa Runstedler of the American University provides the framework for understanding a transnational culture of justice and democracy. Darrell Reid of the Footz Foundation and Lee Rubin of Penn State University combine lessons of leadership, courage, and athletics to increase awareness and participation. Artists like Big Rich Medina, Bazooka Joe Lopez, and the Black Tribbles make music to inspire the transformation that the scholars imagine. Visionary media veterans like Renee Chenault-Fattah and Denise Nakano show how the ideas spread and the new organizations that grow in response around the world.
Elyse Michaels-Berger helps train thousands of new global leaders annually based on these values. Simon Tiffen does much of the same work to reach the most desperate and vulnerable populations wherever assistance is needed. The combined efforts of this professional network will save millions of lives, and uplift billions more, based on models like the Hutchins Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are the revolution.
The International Center for Metropolitan Growth already connects the Norristown Men of Excellence with Villanova University’s Center for Peace and Justice Studies as well as the Court Street School Education Community Center in New Jersey and the Harambee Institute in Philadelphia. Organizations like the Society for American City and Regional Planning History and the Urban History Association provide crucial opportunities for community leaders like CC3dP in New York City and the Ivy Learning Center in New Jersey to meet global visionaries like Julian Chambliss of Rollins College (Florida) and Henry Louis Taylor of the University of Buffalo. Interested institutional sponsors include banks like Wells Fargo, Citizens, Santander, Barclays, and Bank of America as well as potential initial partners like Best Buy, Target, All State, and State Farm.
The revolution is already underway. The only question is how can it free and empower the world’s people most effectively.
Dr. Walter Greason is the executive director of the International Center for Metropolitan Growth and the author of Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey. His work is available on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and by email (email@example.com).