(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
For decades, black voters had little choice in deciding their political affiliation. But a new political organization called Our dark evening (OBP) seeks to give the black diaspora a better choice in the future and aims to have an impact on the 2020 elections.
leGrio spoke exclusively with OBP National Co-Chairs Hyattsville, Maryland Mayor Candace Hollingworth and dr. Wes Bellamy on what inspired the launch of the political organization, who it is ideally aimed at, what impact it can have on the 2020 elections and the key points on its agenda.
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Dr Bellamy shared that he and some of the OBP founders, including Mayor Hollingsworth and the Hon. Lea Webb, had been talking about starting the political organization for some time. But it was the civil unrest we saw earlier this year that inspired the collective to launch the organization.
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“For this reason, we have decided to move forward by creating our own political party, our own political platform,” said Dr Bellamy. leGrio.
“And it’s very simple: we live by this motto ‘before you were a Republican, before you were a Democrat, before you were an Independent, you were black. And it is important for us to center our needs and the desires of our community.
Despite its name, OBP is not just for black people. “Our name indicates that we lead with black people and then reflect on issues that affect black people in the United States,” said the mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland. leGrio.
“Similarly, I think there’s a collective understanding that when you value black lives and honor black existence, you impact everyone’s lives as well.”
Mayor Hollingsworth, who never aspired to be elected but enjoys the role she plays, explained how her personal political journey led her to OBP.
“Getting involved in (OBP) and being part of the leadership team and helping to structure our strategy is also a way for me to hold myself accountable and continue to keep the needs of my community at the forefront of my mind and to be uncomfortable with the increase in politics and politics that have become so common in our democracy,” she explained.
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When asked what impact the OBP could have on the 2020 elections, specifically the presidential race between President donald trump and former Vice President Joe BidenMayor Hollingsworth and Dr. Bellamy did not speak directly at the Republican-Democrat game.
Instead, they implored the importance of local elections, which include city council seats, judgeships, district attorney positions, as well as legislative and senatorial elections. With “The One Thousand,” the OBP plans to add at least 1,000 black elected officials to various positions across the country.
“The goal with The One Thousand is to elect more (people) who are committed to the black agenda and who lead in improving the quality of life for black people,” Mayor Hollingsworth said.
“There are more than 500,000 elected offices in this country and African Americans represent between 5,000 and 6,000 of those 500,000. But one thousand new black elected officials by 2024 significantly increases our current weight.
The OBP agenda addresses many critical issues for the black community, including racism in health care, education disparities, police funding, decriminalization of poverty, and legalization of marijuana. .
Mayor Hollingsworth says there are a host of health issues that need to be addressed and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed racism in health care.
“There are a number of issues that disproportionately affect black people and we see this most immediately in the way COVID-19 has ravaged the community,” Mayor Hollingsworth said. “It doesn’t even address the issues that we often see affecting black women or talking about maternal health and death rates for black women.”
OBP plans to address disparities at all levels of education, from pre-kindergarten to postgraduate education, by advocating for universal pre-kindergarten, adequate counseling and good nutrition as well.
“It’s about making sure young people get the appropriate support they need at school, which includes mental health and access to health care and dental care and all those things that allow them to live. ‘be good students and make sure we’re not supporting systems that support a school-to-jail pipeline,’ Mayor Hollingsworth said.
“Then when we talk about post-secondary, we make sure that education is affordable and accessible.
Dr. Bellamy shared the political organization‘s position on the hot topic of police funding.
“We know there is more than enough room in our budget if we are creative enough to be able to reallocate resources,” said Dr. Bellamy, highlighting his work as the former vice mayor of Charlottesville, in Virginia.
“What is very clear is that law enforcement is not equipped to handle all the things they are trying to do right now, so why not allow some of those resources to be reallocated to services that can have a much more immediate and better effect. impact in our community?
In discussing the legalization of marijuana, Dr. Bellamy references research, as whites receive the majority of marijuana-centric business opportunities, while most of those incarcerated for marijuana are blacks.
“When you have some who are currently serving time for marijuana possession, when other people can now use it to make money legally, that’s not okay,” Dr. Bellamy said. “From an economic perspective, we’re also pushing for a fair reallocation of resources and resources, so that black people have the opportunity to take advantage of the economic moment caused by marijuana.”
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Dr. Bellamy also spoke about the criminalization of people experiencing poverty.
“If you’re driving and you get a traffic violation, it can lead to your driver’s license being suspended,” Dr. Bellamy said. “And you also have court fees, but what if you can’t pay the fees?” Then you get another fine. And if you can’t pay your course fees, you get another fine. All of these things, in our view, constitute a criminalization of poverty.
While the OBP agenda is a work in progress, there was an absence of immigration targets as part of the agenda, which impacts many African and Caribbean countries in America.
“Immigration is absolutely part of (our agenda) and it’s because we have to recognize that black people in the United States definitely include the diaspora,” Mayor Hollingsworth said.
“We are leaving space and room for this program to grow. These are the areas in which we recognize that there are certainly areas of common ground and commonly understood areas of importance for black people in this country and we are developing these additional priorities and our position on these priorities as we receive feedback from those who have completed the survey and provide us with feedback.
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