'And The Ordinary People Said'



Black community and political leaders, fresh from their inability to come to a consensus of how to find one candidate for the recent Chicago Mayor's race have wasted no time in arriving at yet another fresh Black community split over a single candidate from the Black community to challenge incumbent Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez in the upcoming 2012 Democratic Primary. I have heard the equal split among Attorney Christopher Cooper and new City Council Black Caucus Chairman Howard Brookins, Jr.

As with the Black Mayoral selection process, the supporters of each candidate have the exact same spin and that always begins with the fact their their should be one candidate but ultimately ends with why their particular candidate is the one, and by the time the process ends, their are a lot of hurt feelings in the debate that does not end with a united front around one. And here we go again and I will publicly declare out front that I will be party of NO "consensus" candidate process.

Black people at the grassroots level are divided enough, in part because no matter what leader they support, the example our leadership displays sets the standard for the lack of communication and operational unity finally seen at the grassroots level. During the last election and the election of a Hispanic women as new City Clerk, I was impressed by what I saw on the street when I worked the Hispanic community that there was this united front that their community was going to elect its first Hispanic female Clerk and to the point that I heard some Hispanic workers who did not even know Susan Mendoza's name but were still giving instructions to just look for the Hispanic candidate's name on the ballot. And those Hispanic voters came out and voted in greater numbers for the Hispanic candidate than Black voters did to elect a Black candidate, although Blacks had many more registered voters on the books to do so for Clerk as well as for Chicago Mayor.

I have heard supporters of Attorney Christopher Cooper say he represents a new level of leadership from the Black community and not having to recycle our established political names. Christopher Cooper, William "Dock" Walls, and Patricia Watkins tried to get their names in the Mayor's race but was ultimately overlooked and overtaken by the names of the established Black political officials Davis, Meeks and Braun and after that "consensus" frenzy, the Black community just stayed home and let their overwhelming majority of registered voters fail to garner the Black community the absolute power it had with the numbers to force an outright win or for Rahm Emanuel into a run-off, Commissioner Pat Horton lost her bid for City Clerk, and Brookins lost the nomination for States Attorney. Brookins did not enjoy have what he appears to have now in a public Black Caucus support for him now, for he is the City Council Black Caucus Chairman and generates a different level of support than his first failed attempt.

I have yet to hear anyone confirm for me if Cooper and Brookins themselves have had a conversation about how not to create a fresh Black community division when people really want to see some united fronts of our Black leadership. All I am hearing is that Brookins said that he was not going to run again after his loss, but that was before he became Black Caucus Chairman and after a group of funders actually put up some up front money for Brookins to make a stronger showing, and I have heard from Cooper supporters that he felt that Brookins was not going to run and Brookins and our established Black leaders should actually fulfill their commitment to lift up a new generation of qualified leadership from the Black community.

Now the only thing I can agree to is that all across the city I have seen Black activists groups who said they were upset with what they feel was Anita Alvarez's not having an aggressive enough role in advocating for the victim of the Jon Burge tortue cases. Now on that end, I can say that there is a Black united front there on that issue, but what we do not see is a Black united front for the Black community to rally around with this split with Attorney Alderman Brookins and Attorney Christopher Cooper.

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