Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon
Senator Kamala Harris has declared her candidacy for President of these Divided States of America. It's only been a few days but already she has provided plenty of conversation among Black people not only around the country but here in California where she was our attorney general for years. While it's cause for celebration in some quarters, she is not celebrated when it comes to her record as attorney general.
A Google search will provide you with the answers you seek when you type in, 'Kamala Harris record' and you will find a few eye-opening facts. On my Twitter feed, the first thing I did once I heard she announced was to post a link from the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper's online edition focusing on the death of Mario Woods. He was a young black man who was confronted by the San Francisco Police Department as he was accused of holding a knife. As he turned to walk away from SFPD, they randomly opened fire on him. There's actual video of this tragic event which I will not post here. I do want to post from the reaction from the community desiring answers from SFPD and from Ms. Harris herself. Expect to be disappointed with the response just as you would from the Oscar Grant decision which she also oversaw. If nothing else, her record as attorney general at this time must be questioned and the communities who long waited for answers deserve them.
It's one thing to address pandering from a politician from the way they look right down to their appearances in certain places. All politicians do that, that's part of the game they play to attract our votes. However, there was one individual who requested we take a closer look at a candidate who is supposed to represent us, who has our interests in mind whether they be civil or financial. A leader who We The People, should hold.....accountable.
Tavis Smiley desired over a decade ago that we hold Presidential candidate Barack Obama to that word, demanding that he earn our vote by his commitment to our Black community. Ten years later, the same has not been asked of Ms. Harris although a solid stream of voices is leading the charge. These voices claim Ms. Harris or any other candidate for President should earn our vote by providing tangible benefits in which the community will receive if they are fortunate to convince us to vote for them. If not then, they will lose. Point blank.
Accountability. That's what voters should demand from our politicians and the parties who back them. In case you haven't noticed, there is a underlying tension in the Black community for no promises made, no commitments kept. What has happened is a number of young Black men shot and killed by law enforcement. While jails are continuing to overflow with Black male bodies, our local communities slowly becoming more and more gentrified, a sense of ethnic pride eroded by mainstream and social media, it's no wonder Black people want answers and results. Not empty rhetoric or 'feel good' speeches to ensure everything will be all right and keep our mouths shut as we march towards the voting booth.
The growing voices of dissent toward Ms. Harris and anyone else who does not listen to our needs will continue to insist they will meet a tragic end come election night should they choose to ignore us. Here in California, both candidates for governor back in 2010 failed to visit Southern California. Despite the popularity of the tech-heavy North, the citizens here in Los Angeles, San Diego and surrounding cities deserve to be heard. Weâll see what our new regime in Sacramento does to change that. By the way, our new governor and Ms. Harris are part of the same region which has done its best to weed out Black people in the Bay Area. We are in for some very interesting times indeed.
If you want my vote, tell me what I want to hear. Tell me about your plan to fix the urban areas unaffected by gentrification and to bring businesses, jobs, anything that will help improve the area where I live. Most of all, visit me where I live. Talk with me, not your handlers. In the case of Ms. Harris, be prepared to answer the tough questions my community will ask. They will not appreciate the DNC or anyone else to run interference for her. Until that time, the community deserves the right to hold her accountable for her past actions. CNN, Huffington Post, not even her so-called 'allies' will not save her should she fail her accountability test. The community does and will enforce that right until we hear something different.
San Francisco Bay View: Where is Kamala Harris on this Mario Woods killing?