This weekend, I took time to read all the community newspapers. I wept. I wept because I realized when it came to reading the clock on the wall that tells us what time it is for Blacks 梫 isualizing the calendar date for the demise of Blacks 梞 ost of our leaders are ignorant. What happened to us? Many of our forefathers could not read or write 梱 et they knew what time it was for Black folk! Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Dubois didn't need a Pew report on public opinion research to understand the condition of Black folk. When will we establish our own agenda, versus merely reacting to the agenda that others establish for us? We have more ignorance per square inch than I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. Let's talk about that ignorance. As I travel across America, I see construction of houses and high-rise buildings going up everywhere. Most major cities are doing a major makeover. Much money is to be made on these construction sites 梑 ut who's making the money? The construction business is booming, and pipe fitters, plumbers, welders, glassmakers, different types of engineers, painters, etc., are needed. At a conference recently, a spokeswoman from Hewlett Packard stated that America has a shortage of engineering students and in order to keep up with their demand, they will have to employ people from other countries to come here and outsource much of their business to other countries. The caregivers industry is another growing field. The elderly are a steadily growing segment of our population and have many needs. Group homes & foster care are very much needed, particularly for African Americans. Who benefits from their care? There is also an increased rate of Black women with children who are now being incarcerated due to drug use, selling drugs and a system that benefits by taking children from the home, even for nonsensical reasons, making it impossible for poor people to get their children back. These children are just warehoused until they are 18, and then let loose 梐 nd many are illiterate. They are now ready for the next moneymaking warehouse 梩 he prison industrial complex. When released from jail, they enter another warehouse 梩 he halfway house. Contrary to opinion that Blacks are a liability, Blacks are good for the economy and crime does pay. Blacks are very much a part of the Gross National Product and are crucial to the prison stock market. It does not take a Ph.D. to see where we are and what we need to be doing regarding business, trades, and professions. Let me make a few more observations before I address some articles from the newspapers. Dr. Claud Anderson, the CEO of the Harvest Institute and author of PowerNomics: A National Plan to Empower Black America and Black Labor, White Wealth, addresses the four things that people can do to provide for their basic needs: 1) work a job, 2) own their business, 3) receive welfare checks, and 4) engage in illegal/criminal activity. Let's look at the unemployment facts according to the Harvest Institute newsletter. Dr. Anderson said that the hidden national Black unemployment rate is 35%. In cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, Black unemployment is well over 45%. In New York, unemployment for Black men tops 51%, and the national youth unemployment figure is nearly 80%. I want you to visit my Web site: www.911forblackamerica.com and click on "What Blacks Need to Know!" You will see a 2005 report on the state of Black Los Angeles that provides index comparisons in many different areas for Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and Asians. These indexes include employment, business ownership, economics, crime, etc. Our political leaders were instrumental in having this research prepared. Now that we have this information, where is the plan to attack the disparities and inequities? You will see after reading this report that Blacks rank lower in median income per household, business ownership, and employment. Because Blacks own fewer businesses, they have more unemployment and yield low or no income 梬 hich leads to illegal/criminal activities and incarceration. We have gathered enough information about ourselves to begin the process of changing our dismal condition. Back to the newspaper articles. One article is entitled "We've Got to Save Our Black Males at Black Colleges," by Tom Joyner. I appreciate the contributions that Joyner makes in helping Black males pursue a college degree. However, I would like to see someone with the means to open a Vocational Training Academy for Black youth and Black young men and women. College is not the only road to success. Another article is called "Black Pessimism Means Economic Empowerment Is More Important Than Ever," by Marc H. Marial, president and CEO, National Urban League. I think what's missing here is the understanding that during the '60s, whenever the word minority was mentioned, it referred to Blacks, but today, it references everybody except the White man. In the '60s, Black and White issues and comparisons were made between those two races only. However, today, rather than two people sharing the pie, it's more like five people sharing the pie 梐 nd the slices are smaller. It's like our leaders are missing pieces of the puzzle from the struggles of 1956 until now. The article concluded that economic empowerment means better jobs, better jobs mean stronger communities, and stronger communities mean better schools and safer streets that attract more investments, which refuel the cycle of economic empowerment. I guess it's going to take an Act of Congress to force Black leaders and educators to make business ownership a priority on their list, given the multicultural mix with the "my-own-first" cultural pride attitude. Our future is dependent upon us having our own as well. I will leave for your consideration a quote from Dr. Claud Anderson. "Since the end of slavery, Blacks have always looked to education as the way to a better life. Moreover, in terms of newly created jobs, Hispanics alone filled over 41% of the newly created jobs since May 2005. Is education the key factor in immigrants getting jobs?" What does this mean for young Black people? If jobs are disappearing forever, and unemployment is already as high as 51% for Black men in New York, how should responsible adults guide the young people? Let's rise up, face the hard cold facts as reality for Black Americans, and begin a journey to self-determination. I've often stated that "When a field is mined by an ignorant overseer, the crops spoil." We need healthy crops that will bring forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold!