The Labor Council and the Allegheny County Democratic Party held their endorsement process recently. Their endorsements over the years have left a lot to be desired in relationship to Black candidates. Allow me to relate some pertinent facts about the Democrat Party in relation to how the process has mistreated those Black men and women who make up the most loyal bloc of voters since 1936—79 years.
In the City of Pittsburgh close to 600 persons have been elected to Pittsburgh City Council and only 16 have been Black, and during most of those years there was not one Black who was endorsed. Allegheny County has elected 240 judges since 1968 and only 12 of the judges have been Black, all again denied endorsement. Over the years Black Democrats in Allegheny County have been treated very similarly to the treatment of those Blacks in Selma, Ala. Blacks have been denied endorsement for the row offices of Allegheny County sheriff, District Attorney, controller—both city and county—and no Black man or woman in all of Western Pennsylvania has ever been endorsed for the position of Pa. State Senator.
The time is now for you and I to band together and send the political party leaders a clear message that we like the Blacks in Selma have crossed the bridge and will no longer participate in your endorsement process where others, who don’t share the best interest of Black people, intend to decide who should represent us. A perfect example is that Allegheny County Council has two competent committed Black councilpersons in Amanda Green and William “Bill” Robinson and an attempt was made to unseat both of them. We can’t under any circumstances continue to stand by and take the ongoing abuses, disrespect and insults heaped upon us as a people and don’t stand up and demonstrate that we are not going to take it anymore.
I was a participant in every civil rights demonstration in this up south city and I am proud of it. But in the year of 1996 when Blacks were told “I don’t need your votes” there were those of us who were told by Blacks and Whites there is nothing you can do about it, just forget it. We refused to accept the smack in the face and made history by electing two Republicans for the first time in 62 years. There are those in the Democratic Party who are portraying Willie Lynch and who are totally disrespecting us as a people, but it is up to us to smack the Willie Lynchs in the face on election day.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)
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