Rev. Sharpton endorses Richmond casino
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 teaches us that there is a time for everything, and that God is the ultimate authority on everything under the sun. God has created stages which we call seasons for the various cycles of all life. And while humans have learned to master many aspects of life, the one area that God retains total control of is time. Only in God’s infinite mercy can we experience the best time to achieve certain undertakings when and if we are able to recognize those best times.
Recognizing what is the best time is one of the keys that successful people identify as their game changer. Harriet Tubman sadly admitted that she could have freed a thousand more slaves, but they had been brainwashed into believing that the time was not right.
And unfortunately, when we take a candid look at the postponement of the full development and utilization of our $1.6 trillion dollar purchasing power for the elimination of social problems that have continued to plague our people and communities, far too many of us still think that this is just not the best time.
That thinking is so very wrong, so very outdated and so very counterproductive that it must change, or we will continue to finance our own demise and, at some point, we will have run out of time. The best time is always going to be whenever we make up our minds that change is what we are requiring to take place.
The entertainment industry — and its many allied industries — is the No. 1 source of individual wealth in the United States. As you are reading, there are absolutely no Black-built and Black-owned gaming resort enterprises in this entire country. But the time is right for Richmond, Va., to change the future of an entire industry that has historically regarded us merely as customers.
The opportunity of ONE Casino + Resort is being headed by Urban One Inc., a publicly held corporation that I have observed from a front row seat for nearly its entire 40 years of operation. As founder of the civil rights organization the National Action Network, I fully endorse the ONE Casino + Resort project.
Originally founded by a woman visionary, Cathy Hughes, and operated for more than 25 years by her Wharton MBA son, Alfred Liggins III, the company has matured into the largest and most credible Black-owned media company in this country.
The referendum on the back of the Nov. 2 ballot in Richmond will give Urban One, as well as 60 local businessmen and businesswomen, the right time to change the entertainment industry. The deal that the City of Richmond structured with Urban One is historic in its requirements. There is absolutely no government money and there are no incentives from Rich- mond in the agreement. Yet Richmond will receive a half billion dollars for schools, roads and more, which means no tax increase.
There will be 3,000 construction jobs to build the complex and 1,500 permanent jobs to operate it, with employee profit sharing, which is unheard of in gaming. And $16 million will go to nonprofits and community organizations. There will be a safe green area for family outings and 200 live shows a year in a 3,000-seat theater. WHEW!
It has taken a long time to move this referendum from the back of the bus to the back of the Nov. 2 ballot, so don’t wait: Go vote ‘Yes’ now for ONE Casino + Resort because the time is right.
REV. AL SHARPTON
The writer is founder of the National Action Network.