Black Dems form ‘Fannie Lou Hamer’ political organization | Local News

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African Americans in St. Louis County are “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” political leaders said Wednesday at a press conference at Berkeley town hall.

More than 30 elected officials from St. Louis County have joined the Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition of St. Louis County, a new political organization that will tackle the “disparate treatment” and “disrespect” of African Americans in the country. county. The coalition will address issues such as economic development, health care, education, housing and the criminal justice system.

“We are all notifying that we are not going to support candidates just because they have a donkey badge behind their name,” Hazel Erby, St. Louis County Councilor for the 1st District, said at the press conference. .

African-American residents are tired of choosing candidates who are unwilling to help their communities, she said. Erby said Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis County Councilor Steve Stenger were among those who disrespected politicians and black residents in the county. Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins also named St. Louis County District Attorney Robert McCulloch as the one who blatantly despises the black community.

Erby, who represents most of Ferguson, has been called the coalition’s “center of gravity”. After the county council failed to pass recent inclusion bills and government officials ignored their voices during the Ferguson protests and the Normandy schools crisis, Erby told his colleagues that she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” quoting Fannie Lou Hamer, the iconic and historic leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

So the wheels were set in motion and many young African American politicians organized themselves to help make the coalition a reality, the leaders said.

“We are tired of being looked down upon as taxpaying citizens and elected by those to whom we turn for leadership in the highest office,” Erby said.

In the suburbs, political units are often so small that political power never has the focus to effect change, said Mike Jones, senior policy adviser for the county executive office, Charlie Dooley. African American political leaders never have enough strength to represent their black voters in a power structure “that is not included to be inclusive,” Jones said.

“Hazel and the others are fixing a structural flaw,” Jones said. “These are black leaders organizing to put themselves in a position to represent the interests of African American voters who make a difference in who gets to run the county.”

In St. Louis County, Jones said the Democratic Party’s margin of victory largely depends on black voters.

At the press conference, Darren Seals, a 27-year-old Ferguson resident, asked coalition leaders how they plan to organize young people. Seals said he had lived in Ferguson most of his life and that the only relationship he had with police was being harassed and harassed. He called the Ferguson protests a “war of young men.”

“Our generation has had enough,” Seals said. “It’s the young men who are fighting, but it’s always the young men who are not heard. If we did not fight, these organizations would not be forming right now. “

Seals told the coalition that most of the young people will not follow them, but will follow young men like him who have been on the ground since day one of the protests. He asked them what they were planning to do to mentor the young leaders. The coalition said it would work with Seals and Jeremy Rhone, another young resident who attended the press conference, to make their voices heard.

At least 20 elected officials surrounded Erby on the Town Hall podium as she made the announcement.

“A collective is stronger than one,” said Shonte Harmon-Young, chairman of the council of aldermen for the town of Moline Acres. “I have not known such a collective voice where everyone is on the same page, and it is high time. I think it’s historic, and I’m so excited.

Follow this reporter on Twitter at @rebeccarivas.


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