I wanna jump right in on a few issues this morning – starting back with the presidential election.
I’ve said it before, but all of the candidates are making their final decisions right now and will begin announcing their candidacies in just a few weeks.
I’ve met and talked with several of them that are going to announce they are running and I want to give a bit of advice for our audience.
Black people are the largest, most dedicated voting bloc in the Democratic Party. Period.
I’d say that nearly 95% of the political power we have in this country, good or bad, is within the Democratic Party. And not a single Democrat can ever be elected President of the United States without our votes.
And the bottom line is this. We are choosing this Democratic nominee. Yes, other people are going to vote, but it’s going to be the person we vote for the most that gets the nomination.
And listen to me – THAT’S POWER, but only if we use it. Too often, we wait until the general election to try to use our power, but come the general election, we are pretty much locked in. The Republican Party hates us, so we’re going to vote for the Democrat. That’s not power. Our power comes in having two abilities that I want us to flex in the weeks and months ahead.
First, we have the power to let candidates know that we will only be endorsing them if they support very particular policies that are important to us. We cannot let them define for us what they will do. That already puts us behind – and we have to define for them what the conditions are to win our votes in the primary. It’s not enough for them to visit our churches and kiss our babies. Show us exactly what you are going to fight for and how that will impact us.
So, our first power is in making it clear to candidates that if they don’t stand for what we stand for, they aren’t getting our votes. Period. And our second power is in actually delivering on that promise and voting in the person who best represents our concerns. Because here is what I believe, the person who represents our concerns best, is the same person who can beat Donald Trump. Period. Democrats in power, particularly white Democrats in power, are going to tell us to shut up and just support the person who can best beat Donald Trump. But they are using that logic as a hustle to force us to vote for whoever they back.
Let me explain what I mean. In the primaries last month, between Beto, Stacey Abrams, and Andrew Gillum, you would think that it was Beto who was closest to defeating the Republican in the red state, but it wasn’t. It was Stacey & Andrew. And listen, I actually love Beto, but Stacey & Andrew proved that Black leaders are the most competitive candidates in the South. It was Mike Espy, a Black man, who came closest to defeating the Republican in Mississippi than any candidate in modern history.
We chose those candidates. They came from our communities and we fueled their campaigns. And that’s what we have to do here.
I want to make a quick transition and give you all an update on the case of Jazmine Headley, the young mother who had her baby boy snatched from her by the NYPD and ended up getting sent to jail for no reason whatsoever. She’s free. She’s home. She’s reunited with her son. She’s still dealing with some other legal nonsense, but I think she’s going to get through it all.
The thought I want to close us out this morning on is this. The same energy we used to get Jazmine Headley free is the same energy we need to use to make sure nothing like that ever happens again in any of our cities. Period.
We are masters at reacting to injustice. We’ve got that down. But we need to proactively build the systems and structures and policies and guidelines that make sure this never happens not just right here in New York City, but in all of our cities. First, unless a child is in imminent physical danger because a violent felony is being committed, a baby should never be taken from the arms of their mother. Just period. We need that guideline in every city. Period.
Secondly, we have to form commissions that addresses the real crisis of people calling 911 on us when they are irritated. We haven’t said it enough, but it appears someone from inside of social services called the police when they saw Jazmine Headley sitting on the floor.
That’s outrageous. We have to pass new guidelines and policies on the proper use of 911 in every city in the nation. It has been fully weaponized against us. 911 has basically become customer service for irritated white folk. And that’s not OK.
Particularly in cities we control, we have change how this works, or it’s going to continue to cause us real harm.