Historian Arthur Schlesinger once made a resounding statement about America’s democratic experiment. He recalled that American democracy often flies closer to the flame, but it escapes the stronger for it. And perhaps the events leading to the November 2020 election will not feature anywhere in the annals of history because of our country’s inextricable past ties to prejudice and discrimination. The residents of the 15th District will emerge stronger, however, its black community must not remain victims of vicious stereotypes and racist tropes. My constitutional rights were violated in this race because I was denied a fair chance to represent the people in the election, sadly I wasn’t the only candidate. Granted, I will work in tandem with the elected officials alongside other organizations to continue serving this community, because this is what we must do.
I am categorically grateful to the 15th Congressional District residents for opening their minds and giving my campaign the support to attempt to become your representative in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, I had a horrible loss, but I have prevailed stronger and wiser. I still hurt from the disenfranchisement and the cruelty of some individuals in the political world. However, without a shred of doubt, we will continue to work hand in hand to achieve the American dream and maintain our land’s innocence and optimism. America’s imagination, thinking, creativity, and culture must not be impoverished. Indeed, communities are transformed through visionary leadership, and residents of the 15th District, like any other community, must leverage the benefits of a good leader through voting, advocacy and accountability.
Likewise, I appreciate all the residents who volunteered with every fiber of their being for my campaign. This was not an ordinary democratic process. As the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged through the economies and social life, significant adjustments had to be made. I want to pledge loyalty and admiration to institutions that donated food, masks, and PPEs to the vulnerable in the Congressional District who worked with me in distribution. It is a testament to their faith in humanity that aptly captures Dalai Lama’s quote: Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. Hopefully, stakeholders and the residents will implement key strategies to help them weather the storms of the deadly Corona pestilence.
Let’s dig deeper. Politics in New York is intricately held by lobbyists, stakeholders and individuals with Godfathers. Often, they serve with the anticipation of private gain. My deputy campaign manager sabotaged me and committed electoral fraud in my previous campaign without my knowledge to serve one of these Godfathers. As a consequence, my name was taken off the ballot after the Board of Elections approved my candidacy per the dictates of New York’s election laws. I only became aware of her underhand dealing in the Court house, the one I trusted the most had cut a deal with the District Attorney’s office not to be prosecuted. Her decision to make critical errors was despicable, especially from a person of her stature. Now I learned how politics can be a dirty business. The betrayal was unimaginable, yet it proved to be a good life lesson. My conscience was raised when I saw how visibly comfortable she was with my opponent’s attorneys during a court session where I had defended the petitions.
In truth, America was birthed in the sin of African American enslavement and this demon has proven difficult to exorcise. Racial discrimination is still rampant in our institutions. African Americans and other people of color are always viewed by rigid stereotypes in an environment highly catalyzed by the toxic mix of white supremacist ideology, partisanship in policing and prejudice that continuously divide Americans along political lines. These allegations were affirmed when all evidence pointed to the voter suppression of the African American vote. New York conducted early voting, but my name was conspicuously missing from the ballot in at almost half of the polling sites. Worst still, the Board of Elections Law Department was aware of this fraud and refused to rectify the wrong. Other transgressions were aptly captured when polling sites that are conventionally African American were closed on election day even though they were ADA compliant. As such, many voters who were disabled, seniors, and/or African American failed to participate in the election process because of its fraudulent nature.
It is not a secret that America’s democracy is troubled by the specter of voter suppression, a phenomenon that dates back to the nation’s founding. I am happy that citizens have acknowledged the problem and embarked on a journey to correct the wrongs of our oppressive past. More than 5,000 affidavits confirming the absence of my name on the ballot have been collected from constituents in the 15th Congressional District. This is a first and positive step towards change for a better community. Electoral processes must be free, fair, and transparent because they are the hallmarks of the democratic process.