I was assisted in writing this post by a bottle of El Enemigo Malbec 2017. A good traditional Argentinian from the Mendoza Province. Inky – but medium-bodied. Dry. Leading in with dark fruits. A bold sustain of oak, vanilla, and chocolate. Ending with strong black cherries, plums, and blackberries. Beautiful structure. Smooth, complex tannins. Low to medium acidity. Long – sweet, clean finish.
“For – in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, ‘holds office’ – every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We – the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.”
John F. Kennedy
Below is a letter written by a “complete citizen.” A Freedmen descendant and Chicago resident that is a 78 year old Black soldier. First – let’s read her bio:
She was born into a military family in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1944 – then raised in Jackson, Mississippi by a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and a true Freedman village. It was in this community and environment that she received the foundation that gives her the courage and philosophy that she holds today.
Her first career interest was to become a lawyer. This interest developed after observing a brilliant presentation by the late Judge Constance Baker Motley, who represented James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). However, after graduating from high school, she chose instead to pursue a career in education, and went on to receive a B.A. degree in education from Tougaloo College (an HBCU established in Jackson, Mississippi) and an M.A. degree in Guidance and Counseling from Jackson State University.
During her twenty-seven years in education, Ms. Lewis took on issues that affected Black children in particular, and Black people in general. She suffered twice being fired as a teacher in Mississippi because she sternly challenged the cruelty of white supremacy once schools were integrated by law in 1969. She left Mississippi in 1973 to accept a high school counseling position in Racine, Wisconsin. After spending two years in the predominantly white Wisconsin school system – she concluded that white children did not need her service and subsequently moved to Chicago.
Her first awareness of racism – white supremacy and the devastating effects that it has on Black people, was at the age of eleven when Emmett Till was murdered in Money, Mississippi in 1955. Her desire to challenge this evil system began at the age of fourteen when she joined the N.A.A.C.P. West Jackson Youth Council under the tutelage of Medgar Evers. Her first demonstration occurred in 1960 when her Youth Council members protested a white store owner in her community, who had kicked a pregnant Black woman out of the door of his store. She was also active in testing the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Acts by riding the segregated transportation systems of Jackson, Mississippi, making sure the laws were upheld and enforced.
Her yearning for justice for her people had led her to fighting on all fronts: She became one of the founding members of the Committee to Free Mumia (unjustly imprisoned political activist and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal). She unrelentingly advocated for the release of Aaron Patterson (falsely imprisoned for murder – later exonerated then gubernatorily pardoned) – which culminated into passing the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission. The creation of this commission came about as a direct response to the twenty-year period of Chicago Police torture of Black men under Commander Jon Burge. She was also a founding member of the Black Mobilization Committee Against the War in Iraq to educate our people about how money was being siphoned from our communities to support an unjust war in another part of the world. A former member of N’COBRA – she is now a proud Chicago Freedman advocating for Native Black American reparations.
With This – I am grateful to know her.
Now the Letter:
Alderman Jason Ervin,
What the hell are you talking about compromising? What are Mexican aldermen compromising on? Are the Asians compromising anything? What is this talk about giving up a Ward for Asians? Are they not part of the fifty Wards, in some way or another, that we all comprise here in Chicago already? Are they not citizens of one or another of our fifty Wards now? This talk is downright unintelligent and stupid.
The Asians, Mexicans, Arabs, and other immigrants are economically established throughout our [Black] communities. They are sucking out all of the money and resources that Black people should be getting from their community. So – what the hell are you talking about? I will answer that for you: “You don’t give a damn.” Researching your Ward, I have been able to determine that the businesses in your Ward are owned mostly by everyone but Black people. There is no indication that you have been assisting Black men and women to open more businesses in the 28th Ward. Now that you feel threatened about losing your position as alderman, you came up with this map at the last minute – hoping that Black people will support you. This kind of nonsense is what happens when Black politicians have no vision for their people. You and other Black aldermen should have been on top of this.
The Mexicans and other aldermen who speak Spanish are holding firm. I say “who speak Spanish” – because the definition of Hispanic is a person of Latin American descent. Especially those of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin living in the continental United States, and relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain. Spain – a white European country, conquered what is now called Mexico and Puerto Rico, and these people identify themselves as white until it is advantageous for them to say they are a minority. What they have in common is the language.
However, historically speaking, Mexicans are descendants of the Aztecs, Olmecs, and the Mayans, who were Black. And Puerto Ricans are descendants of the Taino people whom are also of African ancestry. Some of them are ignorant of these facts, and some do know – but will not acknowledge it. Anthropologically, there are three classifications of humankind: Negroid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid. Due to their own willful ignorance and emulated white supremacy mindsets, they don’t want to acknowledge their true Negroid ancestry. So – to hell with them!
What role do white aldermen play in this? Tell the white aldermen who speak Spanish or don’t speak the language to give away their Wards from under the white people they represent. Will they? No! They are not going to challenge other white people. All these damned immigrants come to this country and take on the attitudes of white people when it comes to us. They do it because we will not unify ethnically and politically like everybody else. This is about power! And they will run over us like an eighteen-wheeler truck if we don’t get ourselves together.
Why don’t you offer them Chinatown instead?
How dare you talk about compromising! Don’t you compromise on a damned thing! You stand on the shoulders of Black men and women who challenged the system so that we can be in the political arena that we are in today. Good or bad. You don’t have the knowledge or courage to make a decision of this magnitude that materially involves Black people, and a Black community. This is not just about one individual alderman. This is about power! This is about the Black community holding on to what WE have fought for. It is time for you Black aldermen to stop being individualistic in your thinking and approach to serving your people. The [Black] people elected you to serve them, and not just one person (yourself). Black people elected you to represent and execute the agenda of BLACK people. Not women, not minorities, not LGBTQ, not people of color, but BLACK people.
It is time for Black politicians to collectively say to everybody else in America that you are benefitting from the struggle of Black people. The Mexicans and others are at this juncture in politics in Chicago because of Black politicians. Especially our distinguished Brother Harold Washington (first Black Mayor of Chicago). Had it not been for him and our fight for an equitable political, educational, and economic justice for all, those Mexicans and Puerto Ricans would not today be where they are politically. And they [Hispanics] don’t have the human and political decency to acknowledge the significant role our Black community has contributed to their rise.
So now they have the audacity to make demands of us?
Having expressed an analysis of where we are, it is time for Black politicians to unite and engage the Black community to protect the gains and interests of our people. Not the interests of one individual alderman, and not the interests of other groups. We must speak with one voice and say to everyone who continues to disrespect and deliberately deny what we have given to the world and made it what it is today. We must send a message to them that we will fight them like a rattlesnake if they try to rob us today like their white racist ancestors did in the past. And that includes everybody, even the Africans and Caribbeans who come to this country and join the white supremacists against American BLACK people.
We must remind them [Black politicians] that many of these people are not legal citizens of the United States. And should have no political say regarding us.
Lastly, with the exception of maybe one or two, Black aldermen who are members of the Chicago City Council are not worth supporting or fighting for. Too many of you Black politicians have sided with the white power structure to the detriment of the Black community. The majority of you allowed [former Chicago Mayor] Rahm Emanuel to close almost a hundred schools in the Black community. And that led to the exodus of many Black families out of Chicago. The majority of you have been silent about the lack of economic and educational equity for our people.
You have allowed Arabs, East Indians, and Asians to detrimentally bombard our communities economically – and they will not hire our young people. People who take the money out and give not one dime back. We cannot ever set up businesses in their communities! You support Chicago being a Sanctuary City for Hispanics while your own American citizen Black people are sleeping under viaducts and in parks. This is what you Black aldermen of the Chicago City Council have done.
But as previously stated, it is not about any one individual – it is about the Black community holding on to what we have fought for by ANY MEANS NECESSARY. The Black community must wake up and organize to stop this carnage against us!
Black Citizenship in spirit and action. Why can’t all our elders roll like this?