Voting in the 2018 midterm elections became a trending topic thanks to social media. For those who rebuke President Donald Trump, it was a chance to illustrate their disdain of our current administration at the polls.
It was cool and important to see Black celebrities and even Barack Obama champion behind Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum for the vote of Black America. It is amazing to see how close these two candidates came to making history as the “first” in 2018, thanks to the centuries of purposeful exclusion of African Americans.
It is important to have representation in politics. If these Black political candidates do not have ideas or even the will to address the economic plight of inner cities across the U.S, then these Black faces are useless to Black America who voted them into office.
The conditions of the South Central neighborhood that I was born and raised in is horrible. When I asked one of the representatives from my city councils field office if the councilman had any economic redevelopment plans for South Central he responded, “Well by Exposition Park….” I was surprised, but not really, understanding politics. I replied that USC area [Exposition Park] is cool and all, but I am specifically talking about 3 miles north, in the heart of South Central which was seemingly neglected.
Clearly the councilman was focused on areas where the money and investors were.
On the Fall 2018 newsletter, the councilman is seen on the cover in photo ops riding bicycles down Figueroa near USC. Bright, colorful photos posed near USC’s magnificent architecture with other Los Angeles political figures. If they traveled 3 miles north down the same street at night, they would see young Black and Latinx girls strolling the block.
The area surrounding USC is popping and all, but Figueroa has always been synonymous with prostitution.
USC is literally in the backyard of South Central and if you drive a short distance, you will be in the most economically deprived parts of Los Angeles.
A new stadium was finished last year on the fringes of USC’s carved out space. To the south you have Black and Latinx folks living on the fringes of society who are barely getting by.
This is why poor Black people feel their votes don’t matter. Nothing in their community changes, even with a Black face in office (word to Obama).
Thank God Compton has mayor Aja Brown, who is doing a wonderful job bringing new developments to a city that historically had been marked by inner city violence.
I went away to college to escape a community in squalor. When I finished and doubled back to tap in with my roots, the degradation of my community was appalling and it was obvious that conditions had gotten worse.
We need to know the plans of Black people we are electing into office to move our communities forward, or the community needs to come together to develop their own plan and ideas to present to their local city council. We can not be reactionary voters, but proactive in envisioning true change in our communities.