New Era Chicago (NEC), the new pro-Black grassroots organization thinks so. Founded in Detroit, the Chicago chapter is clear to distinguish itself from any misconceptions about who they are and what they believe.
Says Ronnie Man one of the group’s organizers: “New Era Chicago is an unapologetically pro-Black organization that seeks to reunite the Black community here and to empower the community.” In their “Hood to Hood” campaign Ronnie Man says “we go to communities knocking on doors, spreading love, giving out resources and cleaning up the community, which is powerful” he states “and showing our people that we love them.”
When questioned about the group’s tactics and their perception by mainstream media as protesters, Deidre Wess, another group organizer and former principal for Chicago Public Schools is quick to point out that the group does not protest: “Generally protests are against the system” she says “a system of oppression of rules or laws. And there’s a place for that.”
The mission of NEC “Is to unify our people. We demonstrate that by knocking on doors saying ‘Black power, Black love, Black unity’ because this is something that has been stripped from our community,” she shares. In doing so, Wess believes they are demonstrating what they believe in and therefore should be considered “Demonstrators” due to the group acting out what they believe. “Demonstrations are powerful and that’s what our people need to see in order to start the process of healing and unifying.”
Wess continues to explain that in their first Hood to Hood campaign, which started April 17, 2016, in the Austin community, it sparked quite a bit of interest. “We received so much support and love. People were giving us hugs, donations and people come out and picked up the trash with us.”
The group will be out this Labor Day weekend as part of the “Community Peace Surge” an initiative organized by The Black Star Project and Justice of Else calling on Black people to take back their communities in response to the Fraternal Order of Police’s president, Dean Angelo requesting that police officers protest Labor Day weekend by not working any overtime.
Mike Smith, an analyst for the Board of Trade says groups like NEC and their message of self-love is beginning to resonate in the hood because the people feel abandoned by the traditional leadership, the church and politics. “The sooner we relearn the lessons of unity, like our ancestors, the sooner we’ll see the changes we have been asking for all along.”
“The difference,” he says “is we will be doing things for ourselves and no longer depending on a morally, and spiritually bankrupt system. It should be obvious to a blind man that the US no longer cares about Black people. It’s time for us come together, breaking down all the barriers and confusion that would seek to keep us apart.”
Says Ronnie Man “We come to let Black people know that other Black people love them to empower them.” Mike Smith agrees that with their message of self-love and empowerment how could anyone say anything negative about the group’s efforts to address the ongoing crisis in our communities across Chicago.
“Black people need to wake up and tune out all the rhetoric they hear any and everywhere about the resurgence of Black power. Society is scared of Black power and that’s their problem that they need to address on their own. In the meantime, we need to mind our own community and get it together before it’s too late,” he says.
For information about the Community Peace Surge, visit the website http://communitypeacesurge.org/
For information about NEC, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/newerachicago/?fref=ts