Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Presidential Candidates: Do Black Lives Really Matter?

Update: As we approach 2016, much has changed over the last few months since this open letter was originally posted. My support for any presidential candidate has been suspended since October, due to the following reasons:

1. I vote my issues and a candidate can say they value and will address my issues, issues that plague the Black community, but I don't trust the acknowledgement of the issue as a means of pacification. Too often candidates say what they think people want to hear and the truth is that I just have a healthy level of distrust.

2. Houston just completed it's 2015 cycle of municipal, county, and state elections that just so happened to be more important than 2016. We were at risk of becoming a city run by conservative interests wanting to drag Houston back 50 years and home needed to be taken care of.

3. Now that I/we can focus on 2016, home must be the focus once again. Why? There are local judicial seats, district atty and other races outside of our Presidential election. We have work to do on all levels and each level just so happens to have an effect on how our Black bodies are treated. Keep your eyes open!


As a Black man who currently is throwing his support behind Hillary Clinton, I am not going to allow that to deter me from the cause for Black Lives to Matter. On this past Saturday, I was part of a group that planned and carried out a civil disruption at the #NN15 Presidential Forum, which was led by women.  The reason it was led by Women is because it is now the moment to not only center Blackness, but to center Black Women in the context that they experience the same brutality and structural racism that Black Men do. The event gave birth to the question "will you say her name?" for the candidates and  "do Black lives really matter?' Now as the days have progressed and we wait for the truth to come out about Sandra Bland, people have come to the overriding conclusion that we activist just wanted the candidates to say something. What we really want is to know WHAT THE CANDIDATES WILL DO to combat racism in its institutional, systemic, and its structural forms with in the confines of the Executive powers. Yes that is great that a speech with a populist tone can warm the hearts of thousands of men and women around this nation, but the truth is that many of us are NOT SOLD on what is being said. We want to know what you candidates are doing RIGHT NOW from your current position and how that looks with you as the President of these United States. The thing is that Many of the people who organized this recent disruption are not only Black, but are Queer and other shades of Brown. This means that we are stuck at a cross roads of experiences that includes, Homophobia, BIphobia, Transphobia and a host of other issues in communities of orientation as well as from those out side of aforementioned communities.

We are hurting in communities of color, it is nice that the Justice Dept. is doing work to change a lot of the institutionally racist structure on the on the federal level at the directive of President Obama. We more than that, many of you candidates hold federal office and frankly you hold more power at the moment to pass legislation that will reverse many of the ills that we experience as mentioned earlier. I call bullshit until further notice, put your money where your policy mouth is and take concrete actions right now! Not just with body cameras and reducing military equipment rations to police forces. How about you stop the privatization of the education system, review penal codes, and other mandates within your reach of control that other departments cannot change with an act of Congress. So tell us what is your plan, solution, or idea to combat these issues?

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