TGR: Truth Is, Nobody Will Look Out for Black Community Like Sheila

Bmorenews 140

Gov. Larry Hogan speaks with Sheila Dixon last summer at event at newly renovated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center in West Baltimore, headed by Arthur Kirk, son of the late Delegate Ruth Kirk

By Doni Glover, Publisher

(BALTIMORE – February 14, 2016) – Folks can throw all the shade they want on Sheila Dixon. That woman is on a mission and will not be deterred, no matter what they try and dig up. She really deserves more respect than what she is getting. The mean words I’ve heard are really saddening. Through it all, though, she stands tall and by some indications, she could end up winning the race for Mayor of Baltimore. I, for one, believe it is going to happen. Meanwhile, I am praying her strength.

What’s saddening is that folks would rather try to tear someone else down than actually come up with some viable, common sense solutions to the historic uneven distribution of resources in the City of Baltimore. I mean, let’s be real: parts of Baltimore look like a bomb exploded.

And you know what? It’s time for a drastic improvement, specifically in the black community. From Edmondson Village to Park Heights to Historic East Baltimore, the deprivation of the black community – especially via the O’Malley Era, has left these communities looking like war-torn countries overseas.

Sandtown-Winchester, once the jewel of neighborhood transformation under then-Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, has been reduced to a non-player in the world of community development. Like in many other communities, the community development corporations have virtually disappeared. In all of West Baltimore, Druid Heights CDC remains as a beacon of hope. This means that communities like Harlem Park and Sandtown have gotten absolutely nothing over the years, besides plans for a new Western District Police Station.

More than that, the people are hurting. If you look carefully, you see the grimace on people’s faces on Greenmount and North. At Pennsylvania and North, you see the same thing: Pain on the faces of the people. They are stressed-out and understandably so. Contrast these major black intersections with Harbor East. It looks like two different towns, i.e. the tale of two cities.

As I’ve stated before, I think Sheila Dixon is the best one to help even things out and ensure that for once in too long, the black community starts to look like somewhere somebody would want to live. For once in a long time, we can offer our young boys on the corner a job and a chance to do something other than selling weed. For once in too long, we can help embrace and support our young people into careers instead of prison cells.

What we do not need is the clueless leadership that lost this city last April to a night we shall not soon forget. Our hearts were broken before an international audience, all because the City closed Douglass High School and the Mondawmin MTA Station at the same time. The City then insults the Governor by calling him a “rookie”. Who does that? People who are more concerned about national politics than serving the people; that’s who!

Baltimore deserves to be loved and nurtured, not ignored, not abused. There is a healing that needs to happen and yes, Sheila can see it through.

I truly commend Ms. Dixon for maintaining her composure amidst nasty efforts to discredit her name. She has demonstrated poise and character in light of it all. I think after a while, though, the negativity is going to backfire. At some point, the opposition has to do a better job actually defining themselves and their own plans. That’s exactly why I’m convinced that not one is going to ensure that black folks get taken care of better than Dixon; they don’t know how and they lack the true relationship with the people. I think Baltimoreans can see through a lot of these politicians and are not moved by how much money they have or who they have on their team. Most folks want to know that you genuinely care.

Truth is, not one of these other people running for Mayor of Baltimore is going to specifically help empower the African American community. There again is the 600-pound gorilla in the room that Dixon challengers refrain from discussing: Race.

Truth be told, this whole damn city needs some therapy. We need to address our past ills so that we can move forward. However, if we never have the conversation, we can never move past it effectively. Unresolved issues have a way of recurring until they are dealt with properly. Then, and only then, can healing take place.

Unless we can be honest about the State of Baltimore and the root causes of its dysfunction, i.e. institutional racism – including mass incarceration, under-education and unemployment, then we can never get to the solution phase. And so, no! I don’t think any of these candidates are better qualified to lead this city for the next four years because they haven’t been honest thus far about the obvious: Baltimore is still a very segregated town.

Sheila waited her turn. She sat on the sideline. She did all that was asked of her legally. At some point, folks are going to start asking why all of these attacks on Dixon keep occurring. This is what I see: Sheila Dixon is running full-steam ahead and she is not looking up until April 26th when the last vote is counted.

At that point, we can then look at how to fix our blighted communities. Already, money is in place by the State of Maryland for demolition and green space. As a matter of fact, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford was in East Baltimore last week at Eager Park near Johns Hopkins Hospital where vacants were cleared for green space.

Sheila Dixon has a working, if not excellent rapport with both Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Rutherford. This is critical given the current distrust between the City and the State. She can hit the ground running – with money already in place.

Truth is, some black elected officials are more concerned with scoring points with the National Democratic Party elite than in serving the constituents they are first charged with serving. Personally, I’m not impressed with that. Take care of home and home will take care of you.

Sheila is her own woman. She is not beholden to anyone. And that is saying something, especially in a day and time when folks will seemingly do most anything to win.

You see, winning an election is one thing; but, actually using that position to help empower the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party is an entirely different song. Frankly, I’m not the least bit convinced that any of these other mayoral candidates could even fathom the mindset of a Marion Barry, Washington, D.C.’s ‘Mayor for Life’; he was the prototype of black empowerment. Prince George’s County is one of the fruits of his work. So, too, was Maynard Jackson down in Atlanta, forever known for building Hartsfield International Airport and ensuring that blacks were at the table and getting a fair share of the pie. Their subway system is quite on-point as well, I might add. These men had vision and they had the common sense to make sure their people were served. Sounds simple, but it is yet rare: blacks parlaying politics into economic empowerment. Every other race does it.

Baltimore is a city in need of a special kind of loving and healing. Further, I think you have to know and understand the history of Baltimore to truly appreciate the people. I don’t think you can come in and buy her heart in 90 days. If these opposition candidates for mayor cannot understand the people, there is no way possible that they can effectively lead the people because they haven’t put in the time to effectively get to know the people.

Post-Freddie Gray, the first riot since 1968, Baltimore is a city in dire need of leadership based in love. Seriously! Whomever the winner of the Mayor’s race might be, this city needs to be loved. We have had enough ‘zero tolerance’ that locked up one in six Baltimoreans. We are tired of not having ample recreation and other resources for our youth whom we claim we love so much. And we’ve had enough of the painful disrespect of our historic African American institutions that are being lost and destroyed far too often. We need leadership that sees the need and fills it.

At this point, we can’t even plow our own streets: Talk about new lows! We chose to get contractors from New Orleans to move the snow. I was at a total loss for words!

This has been a majority African American town for a very long time. As a matter of fact, prior to the Civil War, Baltimore had the largest population of free blacks in the nation. All that to say: black folks here have been accustomed to an empowering atmosphere in Baltimore for a long time. However, since 1999 and the onset of the O’Malley era, a lot changed.

The black community had begun to lose the power we worked so hard as a community for years to achieve. Senior black officials had begun to die. And, there was no secession plan post-Kurt Schmoke’s 12 years as mayor.

As a result, the black community has been terribly discombobulated and it is an “every man for himself” type of world. We are technologically more advanced, but politically, we haven’t seen politics do much if anything for East and West Baltimore in years, including our black business owners. So, apathy does exist and rightly so.

For me, Sheila brings something special to the table: her understanding of the problems. And that’s what none of these candidates can replicate: a true passion to serve all people but also a deep enough comprehension of the plight of black people.

Like Brother Bey often reminds me of Malcolm’s words, “In order to serve the people, you gotta love the people.” Sheila loves the people!

Spend five minutes with her in any part of town and people come up to her and give her love. They tell her to run for Mayor and they take a selfie with her. I’ve seen it happen time after time. All races, from all walks of life, she is loved more than the others because she is Baltimore.

On top of it all, Sheila Dixon has exhibited a lot of class.

I am 1000% sure that Sheila Dixon is the only candidate running for Mayor who is qualified to effectively lead Baltimore. She has the experience and even more, she aims to win. She’s a competitor! Those of us who love her know her heart and that heart is clearly for the people! She has the guts to stand up for what is right, she is the only one who is going to look out for the black community, and, again I reiterate, she is her own woman.

Go, Madame Mayor! Keep running and don’t look back!