By Beverly Gadson-Birch
Memorial Day is a federal holiday set aside to pay homage to the country’s fallen soldiers. The day is also a day to kick back on beaches and enjoy family cookouts. There is more cooking going on in high places than ribs on backyard grills.
For years, I have wrestled with why glaring disparities exist between blacks and whites particularly in education, housing and economics. The more blacks work to build wealth or achieve financial stability, the more the rug is pulled from under them. It really hasn’t been that long since blacks owned restaurants, motels, night clubs, shoe repair shops, beauty schools, clothing stores, etc. And, one by one, establishments folded for lack of operating capital and a steady decline in patronage. Stumbling blocks are constantly placed in the way of cash strapped struggling entrepreneurs.
It’s time that we address disparities in this city and country that have stymied economic growth in the black community. Where are our pastors and politicians? Why aren’t they addressing these very important issues? How many times have I heard pastors say, “if you sit high you pay high?” So, what’s happening with all of that “paying high money?” Why not invest some of that money to build our own schools and create jobs? We certainly have enough churches to keep some of that “high paying money” in our community.
When are we going to address why “influential” people commit crime, often referred to as “white collar crime” with little or no consequence for their actions while disadvantaged folks are jailed in record numbers for similar infractions or less?
Last week Quality Education Project (QEP) held a forum at the International Longshoremen Hall on “Dark Money” and privatization. Dark money is money that influences campaigns and education. It’s not just done on a local level but it’s a national movement. Dark money falls a little short of vote buying; but, it’s right up there with buying people. Millions of dark dollars are being spent to influence election outcomes. And, for those candidates elected with “dark money,” shame on you. That explains why you are no more than a figurehead on Boards and Commissions.
You have no voice because black money bought your voice. And, if you follow the money, you will find out why dark money is supporting and pushing for privatization. Ask yourself who stands to gain through “dark investments?” Privatization is tantamount to segregation. It’s all about making money on the backs of those who have been disenfranchised. Anonymous donors are not just tossing money around because they have it. No, rich folks are always looking for returns on their investment. Y’all know what old school mommas had to say about shady things, “what you do in the dark will come out in the light.” Well, it’s almost light time.
There are two major mayoral races coming up in November. Dark dollars and favors are already circulating in the Black community. Since we are discussing corruption within government and the educational system, I have been contacted by a very trusted source regarding, what appears to be, a list of wealthy folks that have contributed in excess of the $1,000 cap allowed in local elections to a mayor’s campaign. Who are these people and why would they break the law and risk prison time? My gut feeling tells me herein lies the source of some of that dark money.
The Mayor of Charleston was involved in misusing funds that he was handling for an elderly retired teacher. Let me say that again just in case you missed it. The Mayor of Charleston made multiple loans to himself, without authorization, while serving as the victim’s conservator out of funds from an infirmed, former educator. Yes, the Abraham, Martin and John Piano player, is running again. And, the mayor’s defense was “he did not know he needed approval from the court.” Say what? At some point, we need to say “no” to corruption in high places and to those persons who swear to protect and serve.
I don’t know about you, but I am always suspicious when politicians promote black folk to some high-ranking position or throw them a few dollars just before an election. I call them “dusk to dawn” politicians. They show their good side as long as the light shines upon them; but, as soon as the light begins to fade, it’s slipping and hiding, pilfering and lying. Be sure to keep your eyes out for politicians that parade up front in black churches for the opportunity to speak or sing. I refer to them as “opportunists.” They speak, make their appeal, and leave before the sermon to do their bidding at some other church.
Beware of ‘dark money” in dark places! You just may end up in a “dark” cell. Are y’all listening??