One year after Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, NewsOne Now questions what has changed in the 365 days since the St. Louis suburb was upended and eventually left smoldering after protests and clashes with militarized police set the city ablaze.
Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal and activist Tef Poe spoke with NewsOne Nowguest host Jeff Johnson and the Straight Talk Panel Monday morning about what has and what has not changed since Brown’s murder.
“Legislatively, not much has changed. We are still being oppressed every single day and there are people who are in the rank-and-file who think that having court reform is the simple answer for the hurt and the pain and frustration that the people experience every single day — it’s a cover-up,” said Chappelle-Nadal.
The State Senator expressed optimism regarding the interim chief of police, Andre Anderson, but also is skeptical of his impact on the city of Ferguson, saying, “Just because he is African-American, does not mean that he is going to be the asset that we need on the ground.”
Chappelle-Nadal added, “We have seen African-American police officers chokehold other African-Americans, so we really have to look at his actions.”
Tef Poe, an activist and founder of Hands Up United, expressed his displeasure with the current political system and explained that just because people are not voting in local elections in Ferguson, does not mean they are not politicized.
“In most cases, especially in impoverished communities such as the one like Ferguson, there is a conscious decision to not partake in the system that produces the same exact results whether you vote or not.”
Poe later said, “In this community, not voting represents a will to show self-reliance — to say, ‘you know what, why are we constantly going to these people?’ We can vote our eyes out and the president is still going to tear-gas us or still co-sign our tear-gassing or still call the protesters looters or whatever.”
“So at this point we’ve chosen to invest in ourselves. We don’t really care about the national narrative of ‘these young people aren’t busy doing this and doing that,’” said Poe.
GOP Debate Fallout: Is Donald Trump Imploding?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump captured most of the headlines following the first GOP debate last Friday…for all the wrong reasons. Some of his comments during and post-debate about Fox News host Megyn Kelly outraged many.
NewsOne Now guest host Jeff Johnson and the Straight Talk Panel discussed the fallout resulting from Trump’s bombastic behavior, questioning if his campaign has come off the rails and if he is doing more harm than good for the Republican Party.
NewsOne panelist Elroy Sailor, a supporter of Sen. Rand Paul, said one of the sentiments he heard consistently from a couple of debate viewing events was that “folks did not feel we needed a comedian running for office.”
While other voters “thought that he (Donald Trump) was speaking to a certain segment of the Republican voters with some of his issues on immigration, some of his issues (were) politicians not being able to deal with some of the real world problems,” Sailor said.
“You’ve got some of the right messages on policy issues, but you probably have the wrong messenger, because he’s been a little over exaggerated or a lot over exaggerated — way over exaggerated on issues that are not relevant to the American people.”
Though Trump is still leading in the polls, guest host Jeff Johnson asked Ed Lee, Senior Director of Debate at Emory University, “Are these polls indicative of the ability to be able to speak to policy, or are these polls an issue of ‘can you say the right provocative thing that makes people excited about how much you hate President Obama?’”
“I think the polls have more to do with flash than substance — that they’re more to do with an indication of one’s ability to sell a message,” Lee replied. “Ones ability to be a celebrity, ones ability to have airtime on other shows, and it is their ability to even identify with a particular set of policy solutions.”
Lee continued, saying the polling data is also indicative of a candidate’s ability to speak to a “certain segment of the population that is angry, that is concerned, and is responding to vitriol and bombastic rhetoric instead of policy solutions.”
He hoped that those responding to this type of campaigning are only attracting a “small segment of the population and not a large collection of the Republican Party.”
All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast