Response To Chicago Sun Times Columnist Laura Washington's May 9, 2011 Column on
Black leaders have 'fair share' issues

Rev Al Sharpton called Mark Allen "One of Chicago's legendary political activists

Mark S. Allen

Veteran Political Activist

Associate Editor, The South Street Journal Newspaper; National Spokesperson for National Black Wall Street USA ( , and Editor of national news blog "And The Ordinary People Said" on


The problem with Chicago Sun Times Columnist Laura Washington's May 9, 2011 column on "Black leaders have 'fair share' fears is that it is just as reactive and not proactive as is the Black leaders as well as Black media's lack of proactive versus reactive reporting. During the recent city elections over 60% of the Chicago population decided they had absolutely no reason to vote despite multi millions of dollars being spent letting people know there was an election, and three Black candidates on the ballot of was no interest to the majority of the 600,000 registered Black voters who had the absolute power to decide who would be Mayor. 


Touring this city on a regular basis and touching hundreds of grassroots organizers from various organizations and if you LISTEN to them they will tell you that they have no respect for leaders who pick and choose when they matter. Don't support them and they do not support the leaders when the leaders when leaders are in trouble. Right now Black leaders are in trouble when they raise this issue of fairness for Black appointmenmts by Mayor Emanuel that you do not see any major movement from Black organizations at all stepping up to back the leaders, and when Mayor Elect Emanuel sees no negative Black grassroots movement to back the leaders then he totally dismisses their disenchantment boldly with he publicly stated he doesnt even feel an obligation to Black appointments!


As a media person, I have looked at all my back press releases since Emanuel won the election with a majority Black vote from the Blacks who did vote, and I cannot find ONE press release from any Black leaders public stating what they expected from Mayor Elect Emanuel in terms of Cabinet and  on his Transition Team, I have not found ONE press release from Black leaders with regard to matters they thought the Blacks on the Transition Committe should place on Emanuel to later be publicly judged by. So did Emanuel violate Black leaders for not reading their minds about who or what they wanted in terms of Black appointments?


Established Black leaders and Black media COULD have had a proactive agenda to measure Mayor Elect Emanuel by which would have generated much more if they just decided to offer some validity of lifting up agenda items from the grassroots communities, but those voices they traditionally ignore. For instance, did any Black leaders pick up the grasroots suggestions of long time educational advocates like James Deanes or Phillip Jackson to be considered for Schools Chief? Did any Black leaders pick up on grassroots suggestions for Cortez Trotter for Emergency Management Director, or today will any Black leader or major Black journalist or columnist pick up the grassroots suggestion for Al Wysinger or Eugene Williams to be selected 1st Deputy of Chicago Police OR will we revist the reactive mode again after new Chief picks someone else? Black leaders MUST have a Black public policy agenda that is indeed "public" and "inclusive" which would give them much more public support fromthe grassroots level and shows grassroots people that their opinion matters.


So for now, Black leaders and Black media are in an ongoing reactive mode that must be reversed to a proactive one and one that Mayor Elect Emanuel can clearl see has much more public support than a handful of Black Alderman with And for now, since those Blacks who were on the Emanual Transition team had nor real community based agenda their their own personal agenda may have been fulfilled by Emanuel appointing them to positions themselves or pledging financial support for their pet civic projects. Nothing wrong with them looking out for their own personal agenda since our established Black leaders didnt have one for them.


After the class, generational and other leadership barriers during the recent Mayoral selection process, there was much discussion about opening up for new leadership voices to be lifted up to present to the community as those capable of providing leadership that our disconnected community could support for majore leadership openings in the future. Sounded good, but we are basically back to the same process of media lifting up voices mostly of established leaders and grassroots leaders still begging for credibility and visibility of their voices and leadership and recommendations on proactive public policies that most time fall opn the deaf ears of established leaders. I do know the pain and frustrations of hundreds of grassroots leaders whose views are basically ignored by media and leaders, for I take on the responsbility of blasting their issues and events to media and leaders for respsonse, and even I after almost 40 years of work in leadership on local, state, and national levels, I too have to work HARD to get my voice heard with respect to leadership and agenda. 


Yes Black media and Black leaders should be concerned about getting Blacks fair share of key Black administration appointements and other matters of public policy as it relates to the Black and Hispanic community, but of greater concern is the ongoing practice by media and leaders of not more aggressively engaging and lifting up the leadership voices on the ground which could make their position with the Mayor and issues much stronger than they have presented thus far. But we MUST get proactive and out of this reactive mode.


Read more:


Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of TheBlackList Pub to add comments!

Join TheBlackList Pub