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If Obama Gets Four More Years, Black Leaders Must Force Black Agenda, Says SCLC President

Rev. Dr. Howard Creecy Jr.
( – If President Barack Obama is re-elected to four more years in the White House, at least one Black civil rights organization vows to help him escalate his focus on the crisis in the Black community.

The Rev. Dr. Howard Creecy Jr., the new president of the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, says he intends to help President Obama to focus on issues especially pertinent to Black progress if he gets re-elected in November of 2012.
“When A. Philip Randolph used to visit with the President of the United States, President Roosevelt, he would say, ‘President Roosevelt, the Black community needs this and this is a social reality in our community. You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to that and this must be a priority,'” Creecy said. “And then the President would say back to A. Philip Randolph, “'I agree with you. I see it. Now make me do it.'”

Creecy explains, “And so what we must do is not only articulate to the President the needs of our communities from the vantage point of those of us who are activists and grassroots perspectives, but we must actually provide the pressure for him to do it. The pressure is what will give him the updraft, the wind beneath his wings so it can be accomplished."

Obama himself said in an interview with the Black Press, shortly after his election, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” This Frederick Douglass quote means the masses must press the powers that be in order to force results. But, few if any national Black organizations have made public demands of President Obama while relishing the historicity of his first Black Presidency and protecting him from obvious racist attacks.

Reflecting on the past three years, Creecy says Obama has been dealt levels of disrespect like no other president because of his race. Yet, Obama has "swam against the current" to accomplish what no other president has - a national health care policy.

Still, nearing the end of his first four years, the Black unemployment, incarceration, and poor educational rates are as bad as or worse than they were under former President Bush. Creecy speculates that there is a clear reason for that.

“He couldn’t get to step 10 until he’s gone through steps one through five,” he says. Creecy speculates that Obama had to tend to the woes of America as a whole before getting specific. “I think his heart is in the right place. I think his head is in the right place and I think that the next administration, he will do steps six through ten. But, we will help him do it by continuing to encourage him; dialoguing with him by speaking truth to power, and creating the updraft to be the wind beneath his wings that lets him soar to the place of our expectation. But it cannot be done without our participation.”

Steps six through 10 must include dealing with the low quality education among the poor and the astronomical unemployment rates he said.

Creecy, SCLC president since January, is working to revive the organization which has been beleaguered with legal battles over the past several years. The SCLC was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alongside other Black preachers in 1957.

A member of the board, Creecy took the helm of the 54-year-old civil rights organization after the Rev. Bernice King decided to bow out. She had been elected president the previous year, but her presidency never took affect amidst court battles and rancor between board members.

Pastor of the Olivet Baptist Church in Fayetteville and son of the late civil rights icon Rev. Howard Creecy Sr. also an SCLC stalwart, Creecy says he is working diligently to bring the organization back to its national reputation.

“The SCLC is alive and well. You will hear more in the days to come,” Creecy said. “The truth of the matter is we did have a dry season. The storm did come. But, just like in nature, when the storm falls in the desert, new blooms in desolate places come forth.”

Among the special projects to breathe new life into the SCLC, Creecy says he is infusing lots of youth. He says student government leaders from colleges across the nation are being trained by the SCLC over the course of a year to do leadership and non-violence training.

“The net result is that they will return to their college campuses and establish SCLC chapters with the responsibility of reaching out to high school students that will then establish high school chapters."

With his eyes not far from the 2012 presidential election, Creecy reminded that the SCLC is non-partisan but will adamantly push for voter education, registration and get out to vote along with a coalition of other Black civic organizations. Regardless of who wins, the SCLC will work for the best interest of the Black community, he says.

He concludes, “We’ve got to move from simple empowerment to equality to have some equity. And we can only have some equity if we get a chance to sit at the table and participate in the dialogue and the discussion before the pie is cut.”

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