by Louis ‘Hop’ Kendrick, For New Pittsburgh Courier
We just concluded another election and once again we came up short. There were some positive outcomes where there were some victories by Black persons. However, the most powerful position on the ballot was the Allegheny County District Attorney position. It is amazing how many persons after the election simply said that Turahn Jenkins did well.
I asked several persons who said to me, “what role did you play on Election Day, did you vote, knock on doors, work on the polls, make phone calls or did you even vote…?”
I looked at some of the returns the next day and we had districts with up to 700 voters and only 110 voters came on Election Day, other districts had 30 voters. It brings back memories of the 1960s when we were so proud of being Black and singing, “Ain’t nobody going to turn us around, we have come too far to go back, say it loud, I am Black and I am proud.” The most asked questions in the hood are, what is wrong with us? We also would sing “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty free at last”…what happened to us?
One of the most notable issues with the campaign for District Attorney was the almost-total absence of public endorsements by prominent Blacks openly endorsing attorney Jenkins. As I am writing this column an old song is playing in the background that may provide a partial answer. The song is about a group of coal miners trapped in a cave, and some began to cry out, we will all die, and a voice rang out, “WE CAN’T DIE BECAUSE WE OWE OUR SOULS TO THE COMPANY STORE.”
How do we break those shackles that continue to bind us to the extent that some don’t want to be totally free?
We must organize, raise funds, and ultimately elect our candidates, whose loyalty will be to the people, not the party, thereby enabling our candidate to deal from a position of ABSOLUTE STRENGTH AND RESPECT.
There are three steps to real equality. ELECT, POWER, and at last, RESPECT.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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