This video brought me back to a “Black people don’t vote” meeting held in one of the most federally reliant cities in the Capital Region, NY. The message was, African Americans do not vote, therefore if you are arrested and not a registered voter or have not recently voted, – you are disregarded. Another was, African Americans do not have collective issues such as other communities and groups. One of the attendees, a young child replied that her mother, with a Master’s degree, could not find employment – “because she is Black.” The room went silent.
The speaker moved on with his agenda, pushing forward “his” chosen candidates, which was really the point of this advertised “empowerment” meeting. Who were these candidates? One woman who the speaker noted refused to personally address African American speaking engagements – the other, a woman who personally told me, when asked two years ago, how she stood on African American issues that she was only concerned with women and seniors. I left the meeting assured that these candidates would be elected on the African American vote since they were advocated through white Democratic-manufactured Black community leaders.
None of the current local or world issues was addressed at this meeting. The audience sat fearful of offending the speaker, thus projecting animosity towards the only Black city council official who had organized this meeting. The question begs, how is a city with a dormant Affirmative Action program addressed by hiring more white women, limited access to private industry employment, currently publicized race-based physical and psychological workplace attacks, and an African American community held hostage by Black representatives to manage city-wide issues affecting their health and well-being? This video may be a start. It has been proven that churches, the old stand-by, are not the answer. Community groups throwing civil service jobs, poverty programs and bread to the hungry are not the answer. One woman stated, “The birds are getting fat,” after shouting, “bread, bread, bread.” Black history month is coming fast upon us. Are we going to dig out worn photos of historic Black firsts in American establishments and politics? Or are we finally going to hold ourselves up to the mirror? If not now, then when?