‘When the lion roars’
Until the lion learns to write, all the stories will favor the hunter – African Proverb
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr. Publisher
As a competent and educated writer, one who has his own short comings, I get to share my thoughts and beliefs about topics important to me through a medium that is important to my people. The Westside Gazette, a family owned newspaper business that has been a leading medium for sharing news from the Black perspective in South Florida for more than 45 years, is my vehicle for disseminating this information. We know very well that we must tell our own stories, because some mainstream media have proven to tell either distorted stories or flat out mendacities concerning us for years.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the apparent witch hunt to remove the current school board superintendent. I felt that this move centered around money; and the “fair” distribution of such to Black and minority owned businesses. For that, a few disgruntled people felt it necessary to seem to be coordinating an attack against my position, some even to the point of outright lying at a school board meeting right in my face.
My theory is that there are some people who desire more control over the $800 million bond dollars to be spent on repairing schools and they want to take some of that control that is now in the hands of a Black superintendent and an all-female governing Board. I suspect that the current school board leadership does not fit the traditional models of “power” so they want it changed. That’s my perspective and the facts seem to bear that out. Unfortunately, a couple of school board members are feeding the frenzy as political pawns of those looking for a shift in power.
These so-called champions for change have waged a very biased and personal attack against Superintendent Runcie and Dr. Rosalind Osgood, Chair of the School Board and it appears to whomever may oppose their plan. “They” say it’s not about race, but the fact is that the only two leaders that are called by name when discussing their concerns with the district happen to also be the only two Black people on the dais. “They” say they are just trying to fix a broken system, but the fact is the system has been broken for over 43 years that I know of.
There was no similar media campaign against nor a call for the immediate resignation of the past Superintendents – even though an OIG investigation found real criminal activities going on at the time. “They” say they just want to see this public institution run with public accountability to ensure a public good, but when there was a report documenting that the system was discriminating against Black businesses, NONE of these “champions for change” showed up.
Let me highlight this point. When on Oct. 27, 2015 the school board had a four-hour meeting to review the results of its disparity study that documented substantial active and passive discrimination against Black businesses, I don’t know nor can I recall of any other media, pseudo-media, or “champions for change” or anyone else except Black own media that wrote one word against the district for its institutionalized economic racism.
Don’t believe me? Then search the websites for one single solitary article or review the school board meeting tapes to see if any of them wore their t-shirts against institutional racism. Ask them yourselves what they have done to help ensure that Black businesses get a fair share of the contracts moving forward. Then you will find that they did not care about the years of discrimination that benefitted white male businesses to the point where white male businesses got more than 72 percent of the school board contracts from 2008-2013. The ONLY media that covered this critical issue were all Black owned media, led by the Westside Gazette. Apparently, that’s okay for them but, that is totally unacceptable for us!
It appears and yet, today, “they” want Black people to believe that “they” are speaking for our best interest when trying to sabotage our first Black superintendent and our only Black school board member. That’s why I warned you a couple weeks ago to follow the money. “They” want me to stop re-porting about this so “they” can continue to tell you and me to believe their attacks are not based upon political and personal vendettas. Well, we have our own mouths and media. We will tell our own stories.
“If something that was going to chop off your head only knocks off your cap, you should be grateful.”
–West Africa (Yoruba)