When Marvin X called mental health healing a priority at the founding of Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District, he was laughed at and derided. Today, BAMBD co-founder Paul Cobb suggested BAMBD's headquarters should be at Oakland's John George Psychiatric Hospital. When Marvin was asked what should be done with the Technical Assistance grant from Carmel Developers, again he was laughed at when he suggested the TA grant should be for mental health treatment. He was told the TA grant should be for infrastructure development.
Oakland's "Plato, Rumi, Hafeez, Saadi" replied, "The BAMBD people, i.e., youth, adults, businesspersons, developers, all need the mental infrastructure to make any positive contribution in the district, otherwise it shall slowly morph into the Miller Lite cultural districts that proliferate America, perpetuating the world of make believe and conspicuous consumption (Dr. E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie), with the added menace of gentrification or ethnic cleansing in the sick name of modernization, i.e., displacement. The "moderns" think buildings are the bedrock of culture when it is the minds and hearts and creativity of the people that propel culture into the now and future.
For sure, Oakland BAMBD will not get off the ground until sound minds can meet and agree to disagree on certain points of concern. When those of the radical Black Arts Movement can meet with the conservative political, business and artistic community, there shall be the grand possibility of progress.
We, Black Arts Movement radical artists, must realize a cultural district is a communal endeavor, not the vision of any well meaning visionary, until then the district will be in contention with many forces that are symbiotic and must therefore be synchronized for the better good.
At this hour, the pressing need is for all those contending forces to meet so they can, in the words of Prophet Isaiah, "reason together...." After all, Oakland is a model city of radicalism and if such model will survive the present era, all conscious people must form the united front Ancestor Amiri Baraka called for in his last days.
To date, the BAMBD has received nothing but crumbs, no operating budget, no general fund, not one dollar to its BAMBD Billion Dollar Fund. But BAMBD associates have received kibbles and bits from side deals made with developers and others with an interest in controlling and dominating the district.
Let it be known the BAMBD radical fringe is open to working with liberals and conservatives within the district, whether artists, businesspersons, workers, toward the long-term existence of said district, i.e., for the next 25 to 50 years as envisioned in the City of Oakland's Downtown Plan.