By Phil Andrews
President, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
The Village of Hempstead takes a monumental step in co-naming street major street in its downtown area “Black Lives Matter Way” aligning with the national protest movement in America.
The Village of Hempstead has a long and storied history which includes the election of the longest serving African American Mayor in New York State former Mayor James A. Garner who went on to serve as President of the US Conference of Mayors which was another historic feat tied to the Village of Hempstead.
Hempstead was also home base for the prestigious organization the 100 Black Men of Long Island for many years and coincidentally this 100 Black Men local chapter was established as the second oldest chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. Advocacy was used by this organization for many years to advance the Black Agenda on Long Island. One former president of the “100” was fond of quoting “Wherever our interests are at stake we must be at the table.”
I was fortunate to serve in various positions during the chapter’s time at it chapters time at 9 Centre Street in Hempstead, New York, and was elected to it presidency from 2009 to 2013. Many prominent citizens and organizations have stood in the gap advocating for Black Equity for many years prior to the current “Black Lives Movement” and it is not necessary to name each one in this article, but we should all know who they are as they are undeniably tied to this current movement.
Inequities exist all across America and touch the lives of Black America in many forms. Yes this is a great time to examine America’s past, but it is a better time to create real and meaningful change and remove barriers which have failed to stomp out racial injustices in the villages, towns, cities, and states across America.
My hope for America is that our great nation lives up to its creed to become that perfect union where equality rules over inequities. The question we must ask ourselves is the black lives matter movement far reaching enough to remove structural and systematic racism and its underlying biases from America.
I would like to thank all of those individuals past and present who have added to the voice that today serves as the clarion call today louder than ever for America to live up to its creed. Advocacy, Action, and sustained hope for the future are a means to an end in the ongoing struggle to obtain a more fair and just society.
A comprehensive and all-inclusive approach must be taken to examine all areas of Black life in which inequalities exist and take a fresh look at what is needed to unravel what still serves as a foundation to black inequities.
In order to reach meaningful and lasting solutions to America’s longstanding dilemma of racial inequalities we must remain ever so vigilant and committed to accepting nothing less than lasting change in America.
By Phil Andrews