It has been 32 years since Chicago had a mayor of African decent. Harold Washington was elected in 1983 and passed away while in office in 1987. Since Mayor Washington, Chicago has only had two other people as mayor; Richard Daley and Rahm Emanuel.
On April 7th, 2015, there is an mayoral election in the Windy City between incumbent Rahm Emmanuel and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County Commissioner. There are 700,000 registered African American voters in the City of Chicago, yet in the general election this past February only 150,000 Black voters showed up at the polls.
With so much on the line, will Black voters turnout to the polls to help elect the next mayor of Chicago, will they vote against the incumbent or will they sit this election out and if so why?
On Wednesday, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. joined Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel to discuss low Black voter turnout in Chicago and what is being done to encourage African American voters to go to the polls.
It has been reported that many Black voters in Chicago are skeptical of voting for Garcia because they feel he will do more for Latinos than African Americans.
Rev. Jackson addressed this during Wednesday’s edition of “NewsOne Now saying, “When Harold [Washington] did run, he said he could only win if he had big Black voter turnout and 50 plus one percent Latino turnout.” He added, “We’ve got 80 plus one percent with their vote. Clearly they’ve stood with us and we should stand with them.”
Jackson went on to say, Emmanuel has helped African Americans by “Closing 50 public schools and 50 drug stores have closed, 75 grocery stores have closed — he drove us into no trauma centers in the Black community.”
As a result of the issues Rev. Jackson cited, he and a group of Black Pastors have thrown their support behind “Chuy” Garcia.
“Where are the national Black Civil Rights leaders? Martin asked Rev. Jackson. “If folks are interested in turning out the presidential election, yet mayoral elections absolutely matter, are you seeing individuals traveling to Chicago? What is happening on the ground? Are other organizations doing get out the vote rallies? I’m not saying vote for endorse Emmanuel or Garcia, but are Black Civil Rights organizations pushing turnout in Chicago and if not, what the hell is going on?”
Rev. Jackson responded, “We see a steady rollout of people, some of who did not vote in the primary, who felt conflicted at that time, they are in fact going very public for Garcia and we think that we have momentum.”
“NewsOne Now” panelist Stephanie Brown James , CEO of Vestige Strategies, LLC, told Martin the election in Chicago is showing the nation a trend that we will continue to see.
James also said, “African Americans are voting on the issues, they’re not voting about the candidates. They’re looking at the track records of candidates to see what have you done for us lately. With Rahm Emmanuel closing the schools … Black people are fed up and we’ve see that at the polls.”
Watch Roland Martin, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stephanie Brown James, CEO of Vestige Strategies and Republican Political and Communication Strategist, Paris Dennard Political discuss the low Black voter turnout in Chicago in the video audio clip below.
Where The H*ll Is The Black Agenda?
In August of 2013 several national Black Civil Rights organizations came together to set a Black Agenda. This conglomeration of organizations included the National Urban League, National Action Network, NAACP and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
The plan they developed is called the “21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom.” The report they released detailing the Black Agenda contains a five point plan for moving our community forward. Since the release of the report and their meeting with Pres. Barack Obama it would seem as if not much has transpired as it relates to the advancement of the Black Agenda.
The five point plan detailed in the “21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom.” are:
On Wednesday, Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Cornell Brooks, President & CEO of the NAACP joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss the status of the Black agenda.
Martin, host of “NewsOne Now” wasted little time getting to his first question, “What is the status of this agenda, in terms of what has been accomplished” and if any of the initiatives listed in the “21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom” have been achieved as it relates to what Congress or the President can do.
Campbell highlighted a number of “key things that have happened.” She explained that through their advocacy they have pushed for the enforcement of executive actions and the things they can do “through criminal justice reform through the Department of Justice.”
She stated that the coalition of national Black Civil Rights organizations has to continue to push hard on voting rights as a result of the Supreme Courts ruling on Sec. 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
Campbell also touted pressing Congress on a number of other issues including minimum wage and education.
Brooks highlighted the Death in Custody Act, which encourages States to report to the Attorney General information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement. Brooks said, “It’s not a huge victory, but it is a very significant victory.”
The CEO of the nation’s oldest Civil Rights organization added the Justice Department issuing guidance as it relates to racial profiling as an accomplishment and the DOJ report calling the Ferguson police department “into account.”
Brooks said, “ That police department was noting less than a full service department of bias.” He also stated, the report citing the bias policing practices in Ferguson was a result of a “racial profiling law co-written by the NAACP in Missouri with the Governor [Jay Nixon] when he was Attorney General.”
Martin pressed Campbell and Brooks on a national call to action in the nation’s capital to force action on the Voting Rights Act. Campbell told Martin the Black Women’s Roundtable will be on Capitol Hill on March 25 and on April 22 and 23 a group of young African Americans will be in Washington for “A Day on Capitol Hill.” She added, Voting rights will be a part of that event.
Brooks told Martin the NAACP will be launching “America’s Journey for Justice” and said “Our state conferences are already engaged in direct action” on voting rights.
Both Campbell and Brooks encouraged those interested supporting the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and NAACP in their various initiatives to visit their respective web sites for more information. They are as follows:
Wildin’ Out Wednesday: Singer Angie Stone Arrested For Knocking Daughter’s Teeth Out
Singer Angie Stone was arrested in DeKalb County today after police say she got into a physical confrontation with her adult daughter, and knocked her teeth out with a metal stand.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the dispute started when Angie Stone, 53, entered her daughter’s room, and demanded that she clean it up and control her children, who were running around the singer’s home half naked.
All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast.