Father of Slain Son Presents Community Forum To Find Solutions
By: Mary L. Datcher-Senior Staff Writer
The Black Coffee Agenda is not your ordinary community town hall forum, in fact, it is quite unique. The forum is created by UMOJA-First and the 1570 Movement to create a social network committed to the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality for African Americans.
This is the organization’s mantra. Their launch of The Black Coffee Agenda is a series of public community forums to introduce a special ‘Neighborhood Public Safety Alliance’. This provides ‘realistic’ engagement for service, enforcement and problem solving for safe neighborhoods.
What does this mean? Simply put, the group has stressed their discernment in the continual treatment from systematic prejudices that hurt and discriminate towards the Black community.
The founder and event organizer, Percy Coleman is a former Police Chief and father of the late Philip Coleman. The death of his son in 2012 rocked the community when the tape was released showing Philip being tased repeatedly by Chicago Police officers while being held in a jail cell after a mental breakdown earlier that evening. He later died from the injuries at Roseland Community Hospital.
With the multitude of police misconduct lawsuits filed against the City of Chicago, victim families are faced with not only the loss of a loved one but the tedious ordeal of recounting the tragic fate—seeking justice and future prevention to others.
The family of Philip Coleman has established the Coleman-Oliver Foundation to begin laying the groundwork to continue their son’s mission to bring people together in the faith community, educate people on community empowerment and to utilize various resources to build and equip the African-American community for economic development and growth.
Some of the group’s many points simply states, ‘We cannot blame whites or any history of racism, for this youthful, willful and senseless ‘Black rush’ for destruction and fractracide of their own race.’
With over 30 years of law enforcement experience, Percy Coleman believes he and others must develop a plan to build an alliance through yearly memberships in order to slow down the daily violence plagued by both gangs and police misconduct. In addition, having an economically stimulating community also provide employment to people.
The first Black Coffee Agenda will take place on Saturday, October 29 and be presented in part by 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin at Bellevue Ministry Center located at 10715 S. Halsted St. At 9am, a complimentary breakfast reception will kick-off the line-up of panel discussions that will begin at 10am; CHA Community Engagement Success Model—featuring Francine Washington, Carol Steele, Jesse ‘GF’ Jones and Leroy O’Shield. The following panel; Second Chance Programs to Re-enter Society Successfully with featured speakers; Wallace ‘Gator’ Bradley, Geraldine Smith, Pastor Jolinda Wade, Benny Lee and Robert Ross. The Youth, Community and Business Leaders panel discussion will feature Willie J.R. Fleming, Jeffrey Coleman, Aaron McBee and Darnell Gaffney.
Discussions will be moderated by veteran journalists, John Davis and Renee Ferguson along with Harold Davis.
With similar speaking forums centered around the African American community—this platform will discuss solutions that revolve around the following:
Community Justice versus Criminal Justice, an elected civilian police review board, residential patrols as well as reclaiming ownership, leadership and control of our communities. One interesting factor—the many foreclosed and abandoned homes and CPS schools in low disparaged Chicago neighborhoods.
Community Police Engagement
The group’s goal is to get one million potential members to help change conditions culturally and racially in the Chicago Police Department and gangs in our communities.
“One of these efforts include the 1570 Movement’s recommendation to take-over empty buildings to rehab and utilize the space for training job and tech centers for various functions,” said Percy Coleman.
Will the organization accomplish their goal of building a program that hopes to target a membership base that re-invest dollars under a community fund? The key is collaborating with other like-minded groups that are seeking the same solutions for preserving the lives our Black community.
Coleman says, “Collaboration is the key—everyone must play an important and positive role in our neighborhoods in order for this to be successful.”
It will not only take the passion and unapologetic persistence of our elders but it will take the genuine dedication and accountability of our public officials, faith leaders, academia and business owners.
For more information: www.theblackcoffeeagenda.com