Local group seeks to spur national Black economic, mental growth

The Black Gold Nation (BGN), a locally-based movement with members in 50-plus U.S. and international cities, has partnered with King Streets, an Atlanta-based organization, to launch an initiative that seeks to access economic resources on Black people nationally to fund healing from systemic traumas and Black-led institutional growth.

The CARE (Community, Action, Results, Empowerment) Alliance, the name given to this collaboration, will make its official debut this Saturday, April 30 at 11:30a.m. with a press conference at 3030 Holman St. Houston, 77004, followed by workshops and activities.

“The CARE Alliance seeks to bring together much-needed resources and services to our communities,” said Mwandani. “BGN and King Streets understand that no economic activity is possible within the Black community were it not for the Black community.”

Tamani Mwandani

With that focus, the CARE Alliance seeks to call upon all businesses and institutions within Black communities in the nation’s many cities with large Black populations to show their concern and respect for Black people by committing dollars to that voiced support.

“If we add up all the years of everything that Black people have been through since the first documented enslaved African was brought here, Jim Crow, slavery, school-to-prison pipeline, Tuskegee, all that stuff, it would be over literally 3,000 years of stuff that’s been forced upon us since we were brought here to this country, from 1619 to now. And we’ve never received therapy for any of it. We can’t even get an apology for any of it. We need power that resides in institutions. But they can’t be mom and pop corner store institution that’s just a church. We need a mega-church-sized institution in multiple locations that can heal Black people from all that trauma that’s been forced upon us,” said Mwandani.

Mwandani’s BGN envisions a movement capable of empowering Blacks by changing the way they see themselves.

“We need institutions that can organize Black people to understand the power we do have, educate us as to who and what we really are and then train us to take power,” he said, while referring to the famous quote by Frederick Douglass, who said “Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has, it never will.”

BGN and King Streets view their April 30 gathering as a significant step in that direction towards securing the kinds of institutions of which they envision, and see their CARE Alliance as one of their mechanisms to secure the funding to make these goals realities.

“We’re calling it an Alliance because we want to give every business owner, regardless of color, creed, race, whatever, every business owner in a predominantly Black space, the opportunity to show that they care about Black people, their customers, their clients, by giving something back monetarily every single month,” said Mwandani.

The BGN founder said all Black people have heard multiple times about the billions of dollars that travel through the Black community annually, but says he rarely hears anyone discussing how Blacks can access those billions.

“To me, the easiest way to get it is to ask, both those who run businesses in the spaces where we live to give back, and of course, we want to ask Black people to give back,” he said.

The CARE Alliance’s goal: to get 1,000 businesses in every zip code in Houston and multiple cities across the country, to give $100 or 1% of their profits every month, equating to roughly $100K per zip code.

A student of history, Mwandani says the CARE Alliance will promote those businesses that sign on as members and encourage Black people to support businesses that show tangible support for them, borrowing the strategy introduced to the Civil Rights Movement by Rev. Leon Sullivan known as “Selective Patronage.”

“We’ve got to help our people understand that collectively, we have a lot of power economically, and we’re just giving it to everybody else. We’ve got to get our people to understand that your child can’t afford for you to continue to buy your M&Ms from that corner store. Instead, go across the street, because that store across the street is part of the CARE Alliance. We can’t afford to have you buy your beer from that store. No, go around the corner. Why? Because that store around the corner is part of CARE Alliance, and they give back to our community.”

Mwandani speaks with a bold and excited confidence tempered with a cold realism surrounding the challenges as he sees them still facing Black people in Houston and beyond.

“The America that comes out of this pandemic is not going to be the same America that went into it. And she wasn’t pro Black when she went into it. So, we’ve got some serious issues. We can’t feed ourselves. We don’t cloth ourselves. We don’t employ ourselves. We don’t house ourselves. We don’t control anything. We control no major industry, period. But that can change with the right leadership and the right movement. And the BGN has proudly based our foundation upon the accomplishments and teachings of the Shrines of the Black Madonna,” said Mwandani.

After the noon press conference, attendees of the April 30 event will participate in community outreach training, neighborhood walking for community research and end the day with a potluck fellowship.

Aswad Walker

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...