We are almost there and the enthusiasm is mounting; but, we need a list
By Congressman Alcee Hastings
When Bobby Henry and the Westside Gazette gave me the privilege of writing a series of articles regarding the impending elections, I had no idea what a tremendous challenge I faced.
This newspaper was born out of frustration, wisdom, independence, determination, and vision of Bobby’s father, and a dear friend of mine, Levi Henry, Jr.
Levi Henry, Jr. Juanita Phillips, Algen Floyd, Robert Allen and I tried the newspaper business with a paper named the Tri-City News. We did not last long, but we tried to deliver a message to a community that was not being covered by the then “mainstream media.”
I wrote a column called Justice for All. I vetted my heartfelt feelings about what I described as the inseparable triumvirate of inadequate jobs, inadequate housing, and inadequate education.
George Burrows let us use a small office in his building on Sixth Street for the youth and newcomers that would be Sistrunk Boulevard. We were supposed to pay him, but we did not.
I’m sure George wanted us to do good, and those who know him have benefited so much from his caring and sharing in this town. Please know that meeting a Tuesday deadline for that little newspaper was one of the hardest tasks I have undertaken.
I like to think that the failure of the Tri-City News was a catalyst for Levi and his wonderful family.
Fast forward to this day, meeting a Tuesday deadline is just as hard, or harder, than it was 40 years ago. But, the things that we wrote about regarding the Black, Afro, Negro, African American community have not changed much. We are still suffering the inadequacies that I mentioned above.
We added new burdensome dimensions. HIV Aids, teenage pregnancies big time, Black on Black crime, church failures (more about this later), and ineffective Black elected officials, and the diminution of stalwart organizations such as the Elks, Masons, Knights of Pythias, Eastern Star, and The Lily Whites, etc.
During that period a man named Douglas Endsley for the Community Services Council. Cora Braynon, Evelyn Lewis and Beauregard Cummings, and I were involved. There were a few other African Americans (we were Negroes then) that participated.
The objective of the organization was to coordinate the activities of more than 60 community-wide organizations. The first thing that we did was develop a working, current list of the organizations that participated. Then, we tried to avoid duplication of effort, followed by a determination of best practices.
So overtime we devoted time, attention, and resources to the areas of greatest need. Watching the lack of coordination of the political effort by all of us that purport to be “leaders,” elected and non-elected, has been downright disgusting.
It seems we are all doing something but we don’t know what each other are doing. And, we certainly don’t know when or where it’s being done.
Last week I tried to get a current list of all of the African American organizations in Broward County. Nobody, I mean nobody, is working from a list that has all the names and leaders of every organization in Broward. That’s ridiculous people.
Enter Step Up to the Polls, the brainchild of Burnadette Norris-Weeks and her law partner. They have pulled together what I believe will be the most effective effort of an African American led effort this election season. I am following their leadership, and I encourage you to do the same.
The date is Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. The place and participants are as follows:
Step to the Polls
Registration opens 6:45 a.m. – 7:15 a.m. Walk start time 7:30 a.m. Start location: Avenue Executive 405 N. Avenue of the Arts (Northwest Seventh Avenue) Fort Lauderdale.
Pre-register at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Voicemail RSVP (954)345-7745. For more information please call (954)522-2290
SPONSORS: A. Phillip Randolph Institute; Avenue Executive; Broward AFL-CIO; Broward County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Broward Teachers Union; Chi Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Federation of Public Employees; The Fort Lauderdale Chapter of Jack & Jill; Koinonia Worship Center; Melrose Park Civic Association; Mount Bethel Baptist Church; Mount Hermon AME Church; New Mount Olive Baptist Church; The North Broward County Chapter of the Links, Inc.; River Garden Sweating Estates HOA; T.J. Reddick Bar Association; The Westside Gazette; Urban League of Broward County YPN; WHQT –Hot 105; Zeta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale
I feel this election coming together. People are getting ex-cited. We need each other to have each other’s back. Please get involved.
Oh, by the way I am developing a list. Please send me your organization’s information and address.