Leo Cabral | BVN Managing Editor
Sigma Beta Xi (SBX) Youth and Family Services brought community members together virtually to celebrate African American Unity Day and to honor the legendary Robert “Bobby” Seale on National Superhero Day.
Seale, 84, is an educator, activist and national chairman and co-founder of the Black Panther Party (BPP).
He was working on NASA’s Gemini Program when he first heard Martin Luther King Jr. speak in 1963 and heard Malcolm X speak when he left the Nation of Islam in 1964. These men so inspired him that he quit his job with the project “just to work in the grassroots community.”
Many were thrilled to listen to a real-life hero and legend instruct them on building a healthy Black community.
“What we want to do today is learn from one of our greatest elders,” said Corey Jackson, CEO of SBX Youth and Family Services. “We chose April 28 … also known as National Superhero Day, because, in our community, Bobby Seale is definitely one of our superheroes. And we are so fortunate to still have him here with us.”
What a Healthy Black Community Looks Like
According to Seale, a healthy Black community is politically healthy. It aims to get more Black people, especially Black women, in as many positions of power as possible in local, state and federal governments to make significant changes.
Being politically healthy also includes being active in one’s community and supporting grassroots movements with the sole objective of solving problems caused by systemic racism.
“One way that I did it was that I created the (Free Breakfast for School Children Program),” Seale said. “Right behind that, I created a free preventative medical health clinic … and a free sickle cell anemia testing program. And we had the Black doctors association of San Francisco and Bay Area who helped us put together the preventative medical health clinics in the grassroots community itself.”
He encouraged virtual attendees that organizing is what will upset the power structure in the community’s favor. He recommended that attendees read and get familiar with their history and work with the most progressive organizations they can find.
In addition to gaining political power and community aid, the people must work toward affordable cooperative community housing since many of the issues Black folks face are interconnected.
To maintain a healthy community, Seale highly recommended that everyone get vaccinated for COVID-19.
“Get up off your duff and get out here as fast as you can and get vaccinated,” he said, adding his second Moderna vaccination was March 2. “I don’t play around, I research and understand.”
“We Want Black Power”
“You’re not going to get any power until you take over some of these political seats,” Seale recalled saying to a group of protesters demanding Black power. “The city council seats who manage all the money.”
He explained to viewers that if an elected official is not serving them, Black folks must register to vote and take over the position. In doing so, the people can hold the powerful accountable. That is how to get power to the people.
Visit www.sigmabetaxi.com for more information on future events.
Leo Cabral is a proud first generation Chicanx multimedia journalist working on their associate degree in journalism at Riverside City College. They are a strong advocate for QTBIPOC visibility and rights. Leo is managing editor at Viewpoints, RCC’s student operated newspaper, and at Black Voice News and The IE Voice.