There Is No Black Vote Without A Black Agenda or Black Power!


For decades, we have heard our local leaders, pastors, and politicians speak on the importance of the black vote. We understand that our elders fought for the right for Black people to vote. The sacrifice of our elders was not a small task to ensure that black people could exercise their constitutional rights.

In the previous presidential election, during the big Super Tuesday push by black voters to vote for Joe Biden for the Democratic nominee once again, the conversation of the importance of the black vote in our national elections was brought to the forefront.

Now we are approaching another presidential election next year, the Black Vote is still being taken for granted. So my question to all of you is, in 2023, What are we voting for as Black People? What are the standards that we use to vote for a candidate? For many Black people, the narrative is, let us get a candidate elected to office, to claim they’re on the winning team is enough for many Black folks.

the winning team is enough for many Black folks. This notion has been the ignorance of our collective, and then we conveniently blame the white man for why our political, economic, and family institutions are in constant decline before our eyes. But as long as we’re able to take photo ops or sit close to the table at a dinner dance with those we supported, we are oblivious to the long-term damage our ignorance has done to the many Black communities throughout the nation.

As usual, Black People will give an insulating pass to our struggle and legacy of slavery here in America. In one of the debates, Biden was asked a question about slavery. Instead, he spoke on a record player. The New York Times questioned Biden’s Answer in an article, headlined “Biden Was Asked About Segregation. His Answer Included a Record Player,” but the blatant racism in Biden’s response there was no pushback from Black leaders. The same goes for the local, county, and state levels, where giving our votes away without asking for anything in return has a more far-reaching effect on our day-to-day lives. We have to stop voting for anyone who says the right thing because they are Black or will make history as the first female to serve in that position.

Black folks are brainwashed to forget that Biden was one of the authors of the 1994 Crime Bill. It is impossible, or just hypocrisy for any Black intellectuals to praise Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” when we did not hold President Biden accountable for being one of the architects of the Mass Incarceration of Black People, when he was a senator. And let’s not forget all the other congress members that were in office then that we keep falling for their empty promises and never getting anything in return. We are still waiting for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to be passed. That’s what was promised when they asked for our votes, but what have we gotten in return for our votes?

The 1994 Crime Bill legislation was aimed at addressing rising crime in the country, but like many other bills they don’t consider the unintended consequences. and how it will affect our community. That bill contained a host of policing and crime prevention provisions — including “three-strikes” mandatory life sentences for repeat violent offenders, funding for community policing, and prisons. It authorized $30.2 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service report on federal crime measures. It increased federal crimes subject to the death penalty. It enabled juveniles to be tried as adults for violent and firearm-involved federal crimes.

Two weeks after President Bill Clinton signed the big crime bill in September 1994, Biden voted yes for the Riegle-Neal interstate banking bill. This bill helped deregulate the banking industry. No matter whether Republican or Democrat, they uphold and support racist systems. So low-level drug dealers, majority Black youth, have the weighted, strong government on their backs. At the same time, shady bankers, usually white, got get-out-of-jail-free cards and walked away with millions.

Blacks continue to insult our struggle by referring to Clinton as the first Black President – jokingly or not – and now running to Biden’s aid without any concrete commitment from Biden. We have forgotten that the legacy of this crime bill still has harmful effects on black communities across the nation and not one politician can give you an answer on how to fix it. In New York State they did give us Bail Reform but even that bill needs to be reformed.

Black folks are victims of what has been called” Spectacle Political Orhkastras”, where politics is just a big show with no reality, only to win the vote but without real policies and legislation that will change on the lives of Blacks at the bottom. We vote for the lesser of two evils instead of voting for power in systems and policy.
Let’s not forget about Gov. Kathy Hochul who made history almost by accident, becoming New York’s first female governor when Andrew Cuomo resigned last year in the cloud of a sexual harassment scandal. She came to lower Westchester and had rallies in Yonkers and Mount Vernon and we cannot even get her assistance in making sure Mount Vernon has a functioning state-of-the-art hospital, despite our pleas for her help.

To add insult to injury, on November 28, 2022, the New York Post reported, “New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has unleashed a spigot of gubernatorial rejection over the past week after going 11 months without
vetoing a single standalone bill passed by the state Legislature this year [2022].

Records show her issuing at least 51 vetoes since the Nov. 8 election after refusing to take a stance on many touchy issues while courting support from voters when Republican challenger Lee Zeldin was breathing down her neck.”

The article goes on to say that her decision to keep her veto pen in the drawer until after the election highlights a lack of political backbone, especially on hot topics like criminal justice reforms. I’m not sure if it was a lack of political backbone or just one more case of telling what we need to hear to vote for her.

Once again, taking the Black Vote for granted or willingness to give it away and get nothing in return.
The vetos included 39 bills aimed at empowering task forces, commissions, and state agencies to study such issues as affordable housing construction, juvenile incarceration rates, and group homes for the
developmentally disabled, hit hard by COVID-19.

Why is our Black leadership scared to talk about having a Black Political Agenda? Having a Black Political Agenda is a long-term political plan that’s needed for the advancement of black people on all institutional levels.

The fight for the right to vote is and was directly connected to the black suffrage of Blacks people who have a direct coalition to black people’s right to vote. Black suffrage has been lost in an age of identity politics, a political process, and systems still based on the narrative of white supremacy. What we have are black faces just guiding the system, not changing or creating a new system built of justice and equity for their people.

Black voters make up about the same part of the Democratic Party as two parts that a lot of analysts like to excite for their growing power (college-educated white voters and very liberal voters).

In the Presidential election of 1936, Black people overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, especially for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even though President Roosevelt’s win with the Black vote was not necessarily seen as a vote for the Democrats but, an election for Roosevelt himself and the policies of the New Deal.

Black folks became loyal to the Democratic Party from the passage of the Civil Rights legislation but no real agenda for the whole of Black people and black communities. The reality was that the Civil Rights did not stop White Supremacy or embedded racism in America’s institutions. The truth is that the Civil Rights have reached its limits; it is now a need for Black Power exercised through a Black Political Agenda.

In my research, the only Black Elected Official that has spoken openly about the need for Black Power and a Black Agenda was the late Congressman, Adam Clayton Powell. The Black Power movement was prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s, emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black
political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values. Adam Clayton Powell summed the campaign up in one quote.

“Black Power means Black Dignity. Just as sure as you are proud to be White, we are proud to be Black. Black Power means dignity and integrity. We are going to walk side by side with you or through you. We don’t want any more than you have, and we are not going to accept any less than you have.”

In another speech, describing Black Power, Congressman Powell said, “Black Power is merely of an attempt of equality of dignity, an equality of character, an equality of recognition, of non-Blacks of our negritude. Black Power means the saving grace of our United States.”

The Black Power movement expressed a range of political goals, from defense against racial oppression to the establishment of social institutions and a self-sufficient economy, cooperatives, farms, and media. Even though the Black Power movement scared off many of the Civil Rights leadership, many labeled the movement and separatist movement.

If we look closely at the lack of Black institutions, economy, cooperatives, and even Black awareness through the public education system, Black people have come to a standstill since the hight of the Black Power movement in the 60s and 70s.

Black politics with no real, local state or federal Black agenda has hampered the navigation or any negotiations with other political parties. Bad enough, even Black Republicans have fallen victim to no real Black agenda in a Trump-era political landscape in the Republican Party.

Where are the plans from our Black elected officials for the advancement of Black People? Where are the long-standing economic strategies? Not just the usual seasonal jobs that handed out as political favors. Black People need substantial commitments on policy roadmaps. Instead of being shepherds to community success, we have paid political announcers.

Our ancestors fought and died for the right to vote, for us to use this vote to empower the masses with change. They did not make these sacrifices for a select few kneegrows to prosper. I have always said, Black folks lack the Marine Corps mindset that the platoon does not go any faster than the slowest man.

Meaning, if one family in the Black community is without shelter, without clothing, without economic standing; then we all are in that same condition. Our ancestors never intended for us to give our vote to the highest bidder or as some Black symbolic gesture. They did it for political, policy, and economic freedom, something we have not yet have accomplished.

A multifaceted personality, Damon is an activist, author, and the force behind Black Westchester Magazine, a notable Black-owned newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. With a wide array of expertise, he wears many hats, including that of a Spiritual Life Coach, Couples and Family Therapy Coach, and Holistic Health Practitioner. He is well-versed in Mental Health First Aid, Dietary and Nutritional Counseling, and has significant insights as a Vegan and Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Not just limited to the world of holistic health and activism, Damon brings with him a rich 32-year experience as a Law Enforcement Practitioner and stands as the New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.

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