WTF is going on in Alabama? Seriously. Wtf?
It’s bad enough that the Democratic Party is completely unable to come up with a campaign strategy to keep a pedophile out of office. It is even worse that they are losing this battle to a white supremacist in a state with a 30% black population — in the house of the black church networks that birthed the Civil Rights battles in Birmingham and Selma.
So, WTAF is going?
The hell if I know. I’m a professional strategist with a PhD in the field and a couple of decades in the game and I can’t figure it out. My colleagues can’t figure it out. My friends can’t figure it out. It makes no sense. It’s a mystery. And one we don’t have time to solve right now.
The Democrats seem hellbent on losing this election, and no matter what their reasons are we have to mobilize ourselves as people to stop Roy Moore from taking office. And that means mobilizing the black population — especially the black churches and black Alabama family to get out there and do it. But that’s going to take a little bit more love than what black folks in Alabama have been shown thus far. And we’re doing more to patronize them and shame them than actually show up to help them out.
And that’s not OK.
If Alabama was a nation, it would have the 5th highest rate of incarceration in the world. It also suffers one of the highest rates of police brutality in the United States. 25% of the black population lives under the poverty line. The unemployment rate for white people in Alabama is just over 4% while 11% of black folks in Alabama are unemployed. White people earn over $20,000 more per year than their black colleagues. And the infant mortality rate of black babies is three times more than that of white babies.
No. We have not been there for Alabama.
Sure, folks have promised to be there for Alabama. White Democrats, black democrats, churches, nonprofit organizations — they all have made a lot of promises to Alabama. They have taken a lot of time and money and power from communities in Alabama, but they haven’t lived up to their promises. And people fighting for their lives on a daily basis don’t have time for false promises and rhetoric they’ve heard time and time again. They don’t have time for people trying to shame them into voting for another Democrat that’s probably just going to let them down. They don’t have time to take off of work and get to a polling location to show their support for another white politician. They don’t have time for lies and broken promises. They don’t have time to do the work the Democrats should be doing for themselves.
Black Alabama isn’t stupid, despite how folks are talking to them right now. They’ve been living under Jeff Sessions’ Jim Crow south for decades. Politicians and white folks don’t GAF about them until it’s campaign season, harass them for their votes and then ignore them for the rest of the year. Black Alabama isn’t stupid. It knows that neither white Democrats and white Republicans are there for them. But for some reason the Democrats think if they yell enough at Black Alabama then they will come out to support them. Now who’s stupid?
We need to make time for them in order to keep their women and children safe from Roy Moore and a political system that allows and encourages pedophilia. We need to make time for them until the 2018 election and ensure that they have the resources and support needed at the state and local levels to articulate a political agenda and elect representatives that they trust to carry out that agenda. And we need to make time for them in 2020 and beyond so that the people of Alabama can elect a president that not only represents the desires of a very small and powerful network of white supremacists, but one that represents black Alabama and their allies.
We need more people with pull from Alabama to show up and turn those stubs to love for Alabama voters in all polling locations that serve black voters. Put on a show. Sign some autographs. Cook up some free food. Make their vote turn into something more than lost wages and broken promises.
Bey. If you’re listening…. this is where you come in.
We need to make sure black Alabama’s votes are worth more than just more empty promises. We need to give black Alabama something in return for coming out to support a party that has done next to nothing to deserve their votes. And we’re hoping big names with deep roots in Alabama can come out to help.
And, no. We don’t mean some kind of Rock the Vote mess. Black Alabama don’t need celebrities giving them lectures on how to live their lives. We’re asking you to go to the Alabama black belt and give black Alabama a reason to turn out to the polls. We’re asking you to show up on elections day, December 12, and make a voting stub turn into a concert ticket. We’re asking you and everyone you know that can get down to Alabama, show them some love, and help them reach the polls to throw some hot sauce in your bags and swarm on Alabama.
Bring Roc Nation. I know Jay is in Philly with Meek Mills, but we need him for a day. Bring Big Sean. Call up DJ Khaled. You wanna put your boots where your hip-hop is? Now’s the time to do it. Get Fat Joe. Get Shakira. Get T.I. Get everyone. Local artists, musicians, clubs, bars, restaurants — you do the same thing. Make that voting stub turn into a meal, a piece of art, a free drink…whatever you can give. Give it.
Charles Barkley, Channing Tatum, Julio Jones, Terrell Owens, Lionell Richie, Cynthia Bailey, LaVerne Cox and Octavia Spenser — I’m calling you out by name. Go back home. Fight this fight with your folks. Help the rest of the country show Alabama some hometown solidarity.
And don’t just show them love when the polls are open and back out the next day. Keep showing up.
It’s not enough to get black Alabama out to vote for another white guy and then leave them back in the same position they were before the special elections. Black Alabama is savvy. They know pimps. And they don’t need any more pimps.
We need to keep pumping attention and love and energy into Alabama straight through to the 2018 election. We need to do the work to build the networks and infrastructures necessary to ensure that when the mid-term elections are here, the black Alabama has representative to vote for that come from their communities and carry agendas that represent those communities.
We need to make sure that black Alabama isn’t held in a chokehold by white or black representation that doesn’t meet their needs. We need to make sure that black Alabama has representatives that have been doing and will continue to do the work to raise their wages, get the white supremacists off their acks and out of the criminal justice system, stop the mass incarceration of black men and women and secure the rights and resources needed for Black Alabama to take power from white supremacists and pedophiles like Jeff Sessions and Roy Moore and start leading their own communities.
These infrastructures need to be in place for 2018, but they also need to be built sustainably for 2020 and beyond.
Churches and nonprofit — I’m looking at you. Well I would be if I could find you.
Black Churches, NAACP, Urban League, ACLU and all the other national Civil Rights organizations and nonprofits that are supposed to have the backs of the people of Alabama: where you at?
No, seriously — where you at?
I know you have buildings and paid staff members in Alabama, but your presence is clearly not being felt. This is unacceptable. You are the home of Selma and Birmingham. You are the state that won the final push for the Voting Rights Act. You are the cite of one of some of the most historic battles in this nation’s struggle against white supremacy. Nonprofits and churches — you owe Alabama you’re all. You don’t even belong in Alabama if you can’t give it you’re all. And if you lost this battle — without even showing up — you should pack up your holy water and handbags and get the hell out.
You want the support of black Alabama? Start listening to them. Start meeting their needs. Stop claiming the moral high ground and losing on the political battlefield. Start supporting efforts to put people from the 30% black community into office. Start helping them fight white supremacists and child molesters instead of screaming at them to do all that work for you. Cuz really what you’re asking black Alabama to do is save your white asses. You’re asking black Alabama to show up for you. You are asking Black Alabama to be your hero.
Black Alabama is already heroic.
Start talking to them like it. Start treating them like they deserve better. On their own terms. Not yours. Make their vote mean something to them even if it doesn’t get you what you want. Give them Beyoncé. Turn their voting stubs into free meals or free rides or coupons at your local stores. Nonprofits and churches, start mobilizing black voters for a black agenda in 2018. Everyone, stop yelling at black Alabama like they owe you something. They don’t. We owe them. Big. And now is the time to show up.
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