The Power And Potential Loss Of The Black Vote in Buffalo!

Despite being the second biggest city in the state, and despite Democrats being the biggest political party in the City on Buffalo, the trend suggests fewer people are exercising their right to vote. A little less than 26,000 democrats turned out to cast a ballot in Buffalo’s mayoral primary. That’s not quite a quarter of the party regulars coming out to vote. Of particular concern is the youth vote.

By Betty Jean Grant

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, We Are Women Warriors group will host a Community Political Empowerment Seminar where we will encourage young voters to get registered before the November General Election. The position of Erie County Sheriff is on the ballot. I don’t need to tell any of us in the minority community how critical it is that a new Sheriff with compassion and who is fair minded, be elected. The meeting will be at the Frank E. Merriweather Library Wednesday, Sept. 20 and it will begin at 5:30 P.M. Panelists and speakers include Charley H. Fisher, Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, Eva M. Doyle, Duncan Kirkwood, George K. Arthur, India Walton and a representative from the Buffalo Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. For more information, please contact Betty Jean Grant@ 602-5877 or Esther Smothers @ 697- 6034.

-Primary Election Day Reality- For those voters under 34 years old, the polling sites on Primary Election Day were a lonely place to be, especially if they were looking for their voting peers to be in attendance. In some election districts, there were no voters who were 18, 19 and 20 years old who cast a single vote for their empowerment or for the countless lives lost by those of our ancestors, who wanted to vote and sometimes died or were killed trying.

What is it about voting that causes so many young people not to participate in the elections? Do they not care that by not voting for a candidate of their choice they are, in effect, voting for the candidate they don’t want to win? This is a lesson that was not learned by the anti-Obama administration, Republican voters. But with Barack Obama becoming the nation’s first African American President, they were ready for us, him and the congressional elections of 2010. I believe that was the year that we lost control of the US House of Representatives. It was also around this same time that Donald Trump and other racist persons and groups began the ‘Birther’ campaign against the President. And I was around this time that people like Steve Bannon of the Alt Right magazine and movement began to mobilize the ultra right, White supremacists, KKK, Nazi and other White nationalist groups to start a ‘One-Term President’ Barack Obama campaign. It failed to work in 2012 but they were good and ready for whomever won the US Presidential Democratic nomination in 2016. The fact that Hillary Clinton was a strong supporter of Barack Obama and also a female made the effort of trying to remove the legacy of the first African American President all the more critical for them, for they indeed wanted to return to the ‘Jim Crow’ and segregated policies of old and “Make America White again!”

Youths in Buffalo, especially African American and Latina youths, are hired last for almost every job; arrested about 10 times quicker for the same offense committed by a European youth; are prosecuted and sentenced to jail time more frequently and for longer periods of time. And yet when they can actually do something about their plight, they choose not to participate in their redemption but run to us and complain about how unfair the system is to them.

There were two positions for judgeships on the ballot and three candidates ran for the seats, but those future lawbreakers who will appear before these two judges did nothing politically to ensure that when and if they do have to appear in a court of law, fair minded judges will be there to ensure their impartially! The ‘Greatest Generation’ for voting consistently are the senior citizens in their 60s and older. They vote in every primary and general election. They are the ones whose fathers and uncles were lynched, whose grandmothers was technically raped by the overbearing sharecropping ‘Master’ who replaced the Plantations’ Slave masters of a few generations past.

Frederick Douglass eloquently declared,” Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” We can no longer expect those who look like us to always represent us fairly, unashamedly and to fight for issues that may impact minorities. We can no longer leave the health and vitality of our community and its people to those who might not do the right thing. We (I am talking about the young; the older generation received and acted upon the message long ago) can no longer expected our leaders to be led by conscious because too many of them are led by those with the fattest wallets.

Betty Jean Grant

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