“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved,
but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
(BALTIMORE – January 19, 2023) – Just like we could not expect Pres. Barack Obama to reverse over 500 years of North American racial subjugation in a mere 8 years – just like we could not expect Deion Sanders to single-handedly augment the trajectory for HBCU sports – and just like we could not expect Jackie Robinson somehow to bring home all of the current deliverables for Black professional ball players in American baseball all by himself, it would be foolish to put but so many expectations on the shoulders of Maryland’s first Black governor.
Sure, he has a strong Jamaican lineage. Sure, he is familiar with the indomitable spirit of Nanny the Maroon Queen, Paul Bogle, Samuel Sharpe, and Marcus Garvey – Jamaican freedom fighters. So, too, is he acquainted with the message of love from Robert Nesta Marley. He is indeed rooted and grounded.
Yet, for us to have unrealistic expectations in the Black community of the first Black governor is not healthy, especially if we, the everyday citizens, aren’t also engaging in productive, meaningful efforts to help transform this city and this state into a better place to live, work, and play. I think wisdom airs on the side of caution. To ignore patience and forsake our own participation beyond the inaugural ball could set us up for disappointment.
I encourage all Marylanders to not just observe this history being made in real-time, but to also get intricately involved in transforming our households, our communities, and ultimately our state – one house at a time. May we all get better at helping each other.
One Maryland item I am keen on is the thousands of Black men and women incarcerated in Maryland’s prisons for marijuana convictions at a time when white dispensary owners are now making millions legally off of the very same product to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
That is not right. It is not equitable. It is not the definition of parity. It needs immediate attention along with the host of other disparities in a state that specializes in incarcerating our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters.
Pres. Barack Obama said while America is only 5% of the population, we have 25% of the world’s inmates. And while Blacks are supposedly 13% of the US population, we fill up half the prisons and even worse, Black women are the fastest-growing demographic.
Living in Baltimore, and given our public school system, there is no wonder why so many young people are hustling and getting killed. This is prison prep. This burgeoning trend must be arrested and reversed immediately.
The last Governor of Maryland suggested a lack of accountability and transparency at city school headquarters.
So, it is my sincere hope that Gov. Wes Moore will create a task force to find out why Baltimore and Prince George’s County schools are consistently at the bottom of the state and correct any dysfunction.
This prison pipeline is a part of the institutional racism birthed by the likes of Baltimore Mayor J. Barry Mahool, the father of segregation. Hence, Gov. Moore’s fortitude will be tested by a longstanding tradition of racial apartheid that has lived for far too long in Maryland.
It is a racially-charred oppression by a historically racist government that owes Blacks reparations going back to the days of the Freedman’s Bank, a private corporation chartered by an act of the US Government signed in 1865 by Pres. Abraham Lincoln. That effort didn’t last 8 years. The money was usurped by whites, and Blacks were left further bereft of empowerment.
This country has a very bad habit of lying to Black people and stealing from Black people. I hope to see this original sin remedied with money, training, and resources for Black-owned businesses, incentives for the descendants of Maryland to buy homes, new recreation centers across Baltimore – especially in the areas with the most historic crime – like Sandtown, Home of Freddie Gray, and an unprecedented effort to get our Black people working.
So, while I am ecstatic to have our first Black governor, my eyes are not blind to the injustices we face on a daily basis. Even more, my hope is that with more Blacks in prominent positions like never before in Maryland, we will begin to see a long overdue adjustment of the allocation of state funds. We need our new cadre of Black politicians to keep up the pressure as demonstrated and asserted by those before them. We do not need weak leaders. We need fighters!
What we have been doing in the past is not remedying the situation for the masses of Black people. Sure, we have made some unprecedented political strides, however, the ultimate challenge is making government work for Black people.
As stated by Richard DeShay Elliott on today’s show, if politics does not translate into dollars for the development of the Black community in Maryland – then it is all for naught.
A shipload of legislation can direct dollars toward Black businesses, but only if the procurement officers of the various agencies are intentional about supporting Black businesses the same way white male and white women-owned businesses have been supported historically. The laws have been in place, but to date, the laws are not being enforced. Changes are not being made. Attitudes have remained the same.
ALICE TORRIENTE, VETERAN NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE/WES MOORE VOLUNTEER
Alice Brailey Torriente, former Chair for Baltimore City Women for Obama and Campaign volunteer for Gov. Wes Moore, is absolutely thrilled about Gov. Moore.
When asked her thoughts, she replied, “To quote the singer Maxwell, ‘The ancestors must be happy.’ I totally concur.”
Torriente, who was an advisor and volunteer from the early days of the gubernatorial campaign, added, “The Inaugural Ball was a true multi-ethnic celebration of what Governor Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller were able to project during his winning campaign. It was a serious party. My hope is that the support and good wishes continue as he takes on the innumerable tasks of governing our state. We all wish him success.”
Torriente, the daughter of the late state Senator Troy Brailey of the 40th district. A South Baltimore native, her family’s house saw every Black leader from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to A. Philip Randolph to Jackie Robinson.
To say the least, she has been actively involved in more campaigns in Maryland than most and has a long memory of Black progress. She represents, though, a very strong network of Black women movers and shakers who you do not want to do battle against.
KENNY BROWN, NORTHWEST VOICE PUBLISHER
The Northwest Voice Newspaper publisher Kenny Brown is also a Wes Moore fan. And although he is seasoned, Brown made it to both the swearing-in in Annapolis as well as the Inaugural Ball in Baltimore.
Brown said that while the Annapolis Inauguration is historically on a bitterly cold day, the weather was perfect as Moore was sworn in as Governor of Maryland.
He said it was as if the heavens and ancestors were smiling on Maryland.
“It was a magnificent day,” said Brown, a noted political advisor who has helped many win political seats statewide and in Northwest Baltimore County. He continued, “For someone who has been here almost seven decades, some of us get to read about it, watch it on TV, but it’s always a pleasure to be there. I attended the Million Man March and the Obama Inauguration. Now, right here in our own state, I got to be a part of Wes Moore, the first Black governor. I’ve lived to see quite a few things, especially regarding us as a people.”
Brown also said, “I am hopeful. I’m not a pessimist. You gotta sometimes believe things will get better.”
When asked what we should expect, Brown replied, “My expectation? Here is a man who can take and view issues with – I’m hoping – similar eyes as myself who has gone through certain experiences and realizes that there’s always another way. There are other people involved, and hopefully, he takes us all into consideration in his vision.”
Brown continued, “I want to make sure we give him a chance. You know how we can be. We get somebody who looks like us there and all of a sudden we believe that he’s going to be the answer to all our problems and he’s going to fix everything – when we don’t look at others the same way because it’s us. All of a sudden, our lives are going to change overnight. Give the man some time and see what he does.”
TONI DRAPER, AFRO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER
Afro-American Newspapers publisher Toni Draper said of Gov. Moore and his pathway to the State House, “I’ve got plenty of stuff to say about our governor.”
Well aware of the struggles of Black people in Maryland, Draper said, “I am so proud to be a Marylander at the time when we have elected a person of Wes Moore’s caliber. We celebrate the fact that he is our first Black governor of Maryland, and that’s wonderful. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. And he is also, I believe, the most qualified person that we have had in that office in years. And that’s not to disparage other governors and what they brought. I just think he brings a breath of fresh air. I have great hopes and expectations. His campaign promises were bold and they should have been.
I did think it was possible to get a Black governor. And Maryland is really a progressive state in a lot of pockets: PG County, for example, and then in Charles County given the large African American population there. And Baltimore City with all of our challenges, I’m still a glass-half-full kind of person.”
BILLY MURPHY, ESQ.
It’s a fabulous time for Marylanders of color, and women, and the LGBT community, and progressives. It’s a fabulous time for working people. It’s a fabulous time for the environment. It’s a fabulous time for a whole host of things … labor unions. It’s a fabulous time for people who want to bring Baltimore back to its former greatness. It’s a fabulous time for those who want to expand public transportation. It’s a fabulous time for so many different people because Wes Moore is going to change all of those things for the better.
Citizens? I think what you need to be doing is asking Wes Moore what he would like for you to do and if you’re helping people, just keep helping them. If you’re getting people to vote, just make sure it is higher in 2 years, 4 years – than it was before. There are so many things that people should be doing that will not only help Wes Moore succeed as governor but also for Marylanders as a whole to succeed by having their voices heard. Wes was serious when he said to leave no person behind. And so we have to identify the people who have been left behind so that in every nook and cranny in Maryland where that has been done, Wes knows where they are, who they are, what they are, and how to fix it.
One of the governor’s executive agencies is the prisons, the Department of Corrections. He has supervision and control over that and he needs to beef up rehabilitation in the prisons. He needs to create a division about habilitation because you cannot rehabilitate someone who has never been habilitated. And a lot of today’s kids in the inner-city have never been habilitated. And what we call habilitation is home training. Home training comes from someone who loves the child and controls the child’s behavior during the years before the child has the ability to control his own behavior. These kids haven’t had that today. This is the first generation with no mothers. That is a terrible, terrible deficit to overcome. We can’t just let kids raise themselves. So, we’ve got to figure out how to help them and Wes Moore is the guy.
CRAIG THOMPSON, ESQUIRE
Attorney Craig Thompson, a person who has been A-1 since day one in the life of Wes Moore, “Maryland is uniquely positioned to tackle the grand challenges facing our state, and this election has established the blueprint for electing bold, visionary, and diverse leadership prepared to govern with both passion and compassion.”
Thompson added, “The Moore Administration will create a new and much-needed identity for our state, and I am convinced that Governor Moore’s energy, enthusiasm, and love for Maryland will lead not only to great progress but will inspire a level of civic engagement never experienced in Maryland or the nation.”