Compton, CA–The City of Compton has a big election next month that is quickly approaching. City council seats are up for grabs, and at least 10 people are running for Mayor. A new team, means a new direction for the City of Compton. The right people in these roles are the only way to ensure a path of progress for all Compton residents.
When Compton’s current Mayor Aja Brown posted to her Instagram account earlier this week her endorsement for Compton mayor, it caused a bit of a stir, especially from those within the Black community. Some felt that Brown, who is an African-American woman and the youngest mayor of Compton, should have endorsed her seat to a Black candidate.
Instead, she chose Christain Reynaga who is Latino.
One of the people who was most visible in her feelings towards Brown’s selection was Jasmine, founder of the New Black History Makers. She is engaged and following local campaigns, as well as making sure she is a positive representation as a new Black history maker.
Jasmine and I held an Instagram Live discussion Friday, where she made some very valid points including:
–Black people have to maintain these positions in politics because once our seats are replaced by others, it is hard to get Black people back in these seats.
–Other groups of people and races do politics differently than Black people. We are usually worried about including the collective, while other groups are more bold in demanding specifics for their communities.
–It is important for Black politicians to groom the next generation, so Black people can be more civically engaged through the generations.
During our discussion, Jasmine mentioned working on the campaigns of Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been a Los Angeles politician since I have been a kid. I shared my personal views on MRT–being that his name dons various buildings in L.A and he has maintained his seat in L.A politics for decades–but I can say that the conditions of my community has barely changed.
Black people have seen Black faces in high places (Obama, Jackie Lacey, etc) but the conditions of the masses rarely change. I proposed the question to Jasmine that if Black faces in politics are not working for the interest of the Black community, what is the harm in supporting a candidate who is not Black, who may understand the issues and work to provide solutions to our communities?
Jasmine replied that historically, we have seen that Black people are usually close to the last of marginalized groups to receive substantial help and resources, when we leave others in charge of helping and representing our communities.
In addition to Christain Reynaga, there are also several other candidates for Mayor including:
Michael “Mike” Willie
Janet Lopez Ortega
Elias “Elijah” Acevedo
Rodney Lynn Lister
Mayor Aja Brown did not file to re-run this election.