Issue date: 10/8/08
Are the colors black and brown truly cut from the same cloth? Many
would like to believe so. Blacks and Latinos gathered Friday, October
3 for the first of three Black/Brown conferences. The Southern Faith,
Labor, and Community Alliance conjoined with the Beloved Community
Center of Greensboro, in efforts to unite Blacks and Latinos. The
focus of the conference consisted of education, the workforce, the
sharing of heritage, and worship.
Wesley Morris, a member of the Beloved Community Center and North
Carolina A&T alum, first discovered his passion for philanthropy
while a part of the A&Ts own History Club.
In visiting eastern North Carolina, he witnessed the poor work
conditions that blacks and Latinos endured laboring in tobacco
fields. "In seeing that I couldn't turn around," said Morris.
Further seeing Black and Latino's isolation from one another only
heightened his desire to consciously be a part of the movement, "It's
not robotic for me", said Morris. "I really have my heart in this thing."
The division between the black and brown communities seems to derive
from a lack of knowledge and communication. "I think that Africans in
America and Latinos have a shared history of repression based on
colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade," said Solomon
Burnette, a student of the Aerobic Program at Duke University. He and
many others feel that black/brown unity has gone unrecognized. "The
Black Panthers and the Young Lords joined during the 1960s in
Chicago", said Burnette, both in the fight for equality.
"The split is driven by conservative media", said Rev. William
Barbara, President of the North Carolina NAACP, "We must stand vigilant."
Blacks and Latinos, both portrayed as two separate but equally
inferior nations, have fed off a platter of negativity implemented by
media and governmental standpoints.
The NAACP is a society not only for Blacks, but all people of color.
"Our constitution by its very design demands that we be involved with
all minority communities in fighting against racial discrimination",
said Rev. Barbara.
They, along with The North Carolina Latino Coalition, African
American-Latino Alliance, and the Almighty Latin King Queen Nation,
have come together to bring peace, not only in the backyards of
Greensboro but across the state of North Carolina.
"The black community needs to know that here in the south the brown
people are the same as black and that we're enduring the same things
that they endured in the past", said King J, leader of the Almighty
Latin King Queen Nation, "now-a-days in this new millennium it's a
mental slavery that they have over us"
Many Latin Kings attended the workshops at the conference sharing
their experiences with racial profiling and discrimination. Contrary
to the belief that the Latin Kings are nothing more than a typical
"gang,"King J and his entourage are only trying to positively improve
their community by turning away from violence and focusing on the
importance of education and the workforce.
"The can demonize us but the bottom line is we're not a gang, we're a
nation and were going to keep proving this government and this
Greensboro police department that we're here for our community and to
uplift our people" said King J, but "as long as we are divided they
"Lift every voice and sing" was heard from the sanctuary harmonizing
in the name of unity, eager to bury misunderstood animosity.
"I recognize the importance of unity holistically", said Joseph
Frierson another member of the Beloved Community Center, enlightened
by the experience.
The next two conferences will be held in eastern and western North
Carolina for further information check out www.belovedcommunitycenter.org .