Eighteen years ago in the kitchen of Donna Clay Powell, a Black female, the dream of Imani Christian Academy became a reality. Three Christian men who were members of Petra International Ministries collectively contributed $40,000 and on opening day there were 28 children and five teachers. As Imani Christian Academy began to grow there were those who sought out outsiders who lived in the more influential areas to become board members and hopefully accelerate the school’s growth.
That proved to be a grave error of judgment. In their haste to improve Imani’s ability to help more youths to develop mentally and understand the very important and significant role that God played in their lives they forgot the famous quote of Bernard Jones, founder of UYA and the first Black foundation in America. A good friend who was White, influential and had direct access to the richest and most powerful families in the state of Pennsylvania approached Bernard. The friend stated to Bernard, “If you appoint several of my rich associates to your board your foundation can be successful tonight.” Bernard’s instant response was "thanks, but no thanks,” because their influence and money would have it successful tonight, but tomorrow or next month they will own and have absolute control of the foundation.
Some parents that I know called me and said their children were graduating from Imani Christian Academy and when they got notice that the graduation was not to be held in Petra International Ministries they wrote those in charge and questioned why. The answer they received was in effect “that we know better than you what is best for your children."
Bernard was right, THEY will help make you become successful, but eventually they will take absolute control. The mindset of callous indifferent board members is the same as when a slave would file for a patent on an invention. The slave master would challenge based on the fact that the slave was his property and thereby the invention belonged to him.
Imani Christian Academy has been recognized nationwide as a successful Christian school, does the slave master mentality still exist in 2012 among board members that any program that is successful belongs to them and not to those Blacks who founded it?
I am constantly reminded that all colored folks who occupy certain positions are not Black, because Black is a state of being not color. If you recall throughout history persons of color have betrayed their own to be in the good graces of Old Massa. The greatest tragedy was slavery in America and there are untold numbers of historic events were slaves informed on other slaves. Denmark Vesey was one of the best-known slaves that formulated an uprising against the slave masters, but some of the slaves informed on him. Too many colored persons in 2012 don’t want to be free.
I would love to see about 80 of the parents in Imani that are disturbed about the issues that threaten to take absolute control of the school out of the community picket the offices or headquarters of those board members, whom appear to have no regard for those who not only founded Imani Christian Academy but have the commitment and love for the children that they could not possibly understand, and definitely can’t live it.
When do we as a community rise up and speak out about injustices that are perpetrated against the Black communities by those who control the money? Judas took the pieces of silver and then hung himself. Are we systematically hanging ourselves at the expense of our children’s future?
Please remember Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)
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