January 23, 2017 Monday
An Open Letter to Community Activist // Mr. ``Ducky'' Birts
Care of Zion Baptist Church
Broad and Venango Street
From Brother Tracy Gibson
Dear Brother Birts,
Wow! That was a really long commemorative program on Monday – Martin Luther King Junior day. I was very glad I made the decision to attend the program at Zion Baptist Church. First I want to thank you for all the years you have invested in our local Black community and also for the time you have spent in dealing with issues on the state and national level -- issues that are vital to our Black community here in Philadelphia and to Black people nationally and internationally.
If it was not for people like me and you, our community would be much worse off, more disorganized, more uninformed and more unable to get the vital goods and services we need to not only survive, but thrive as well.
There are so many issues that need tackling. Issues like education; profitability for our Black companies and our larger Black corporations; how our image is treated in the major media and in Black media; paying proper tribute to our leaders from past years; and constructing a positive path for our youth to follow [with their help and input of course].
I think Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior and Reverend Lion Sullivan did an excellent job dedicating themselves to our causes and served as an excellent role models for us to follow and learn from. One thing both leaders were great at was sharing wealth and information with others who wanted to have influence and input and who hailed from our Black community as well.
Unfortunately for me, as a person who suffers from an emotional instability [which is almost totally under control], I have not been given much of an inroad to some of the wealth and support that exist in our community for activists. [I hope you will take the time to examine the enclosed documents that show some of the hard work I have done most recently including my Gibson Principals for Africa; my 2016 Corporate Annual Report; my 2015 Corporate Annual Report; and my statement on prison reform I sent to the Obama Administration only days after they were first installed in the Presidency.
What I’m getting at is not only my own personal financial needs being unfulfilled, but the fact that many, many other activists are having to do without and spend their own needed dollars for their work when there is a deep need for such dollars to come from the Black community. [I don’t think grants from our so-called oppressors such as Exxon and Halliburton are acceptable sources for us to take money from because there are always strings attached that can weaken what we need to be about as champions for our Black community].
What we really need to do is work to replace the dollars we spend as a Black community outside of our Black community with dollars spent for our own Black companies inside our Black community. We need to support our Black businesses! This will take years to fully expand and is a Herculean task, considering the thousands of dollars the corporate structure spends on advertising aimed at Black inner-city markets. ]
However, because a task is big doesn’t mean it should not be taken into our realm of work to be done. I have supported our using the United Bank; and I just recently gave an Ethiopian Restaurant owner some information about how to advertise in Black publications and on WURD: 900 AM Black Talk Radio. These are things that really get at the heart of helping our Black community.
Every year I look at the events that are advertised in PNB newspaper, including some sponsored by you and your foundation. Being a ``little guy’’ with a severely limited income, I have not been able to attend any of these events, but I want you to know I support you in Spirit. I was fortunate enough to be able to join WURD 900 AM Black Talk Radio a few weeks ago. They sent me a nice Tee-Shirt and a list of Black companies to support. I have already decided to visit Smooth Like That Men and Boys Clothing Store—at 5705 North Broad Street-- and JCW Computer Consulting at 7478 Rhodes Street, Suite B. There are Ways of expanding the list of Black stores WURD has as advertisers, and I plan on doing that further into the future.
I LOVe being a Black activist and won’t stop no matter how ostracized I feel from our established Black leadership. But now that I’m 60 years old, I would like to not only be recognized, but properly compensated for the important work I do. My feeling is that there is plenty of work to go around and plenty of money to be reinvested into our Black activist’s communities.
I have a plan that I’m working on formulizing that helps build an infrastructure that includes factories and administrative corporate buildings that will make sure more and more of our Black dollars get back into the hands of Black people. Like I said in a recent letter – not everybody wants to get a college education. Factory jobs at good pay don’t have to be something foreign to our shores if we have a determined Spirit and are willing to talk about the benefits gained from such stability that good factory work can supply and demand such from our Black corporate, civic and community leaders.
We used to have the Black United Fund as a source of income for our Black community. I have to look into what they are doing. I know they were curtailed from some of their financial activities because they took bold action and supported Mumia Abu Jamal in at least one instance. The more we take on the powers that be and support our Sisters and Brothers the more we will be rewarded by our own progressive Black community. But such things need us to take action and fully educating our Black public as to why they are so important.
I hope you remember my name from the days when we were boycotting the Daily News and meeting at Brother Bruce Crawley’s Center City office. We really had the Daily News on the ropes and were about to help, I thought, the Philadelphia Tribune become a Daily newspaper. But the rock was chipped, and things changed and we didn’t keep the pressure on for some reason. [I wrote Bruce, but never got an answer as to why we weren’t keeping the pressure on and making the positive changes we needed to make. ]
I know you must get quite a few Black people asking for work and jobs frequently. I am sending you a resume to help you see who I truly am and help me get a job. I am more than willing to work and will put in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. I have written WURD about being a consultant for them [I have a degree in journalism and Black Studies from The Ohio State University]; I also recently got my Serv.Safe certificate [Certificate number 14312656], in food service through a class with the People’s Emergency Center. I also have an extensive work record with my own company and experience with the Philadelphia Tribune and TV Guide magazine.
I am willing and able to work and I especially LOVe our Black youth and want to work as a counselor / teacher for them. However, in this field I need more qualifications even though I worked unpaid for a Black men’s support group for seven years as a facilitator. I have also written ENON Tabernacle Baptist Church [Reverend Waller] to apply for work in their kitchen.
Your work to help me find a job is greatly appreciated. I really enjoyed the Martin Luther King Junior / Leon Sullivan event and ask that you keep me informed for other such events in the future.
Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Brother Tracy Gibson and Associates, INC.
Finding inroads to help our entire Black community.