Sankofa Study Circle

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Defense of Marion Barry

by Salim Adofo
National Vice Chairperson
National Black United Front

The National Black United Front is in 100% agreement with DC Councilman Marion Barry, in regards to his articulation of how the Black community of Ward 8 in Washington DC is exploited by non-community residents. The value of the Black consumer in Ward 8 is under appreciated and consistently disrespected. The quality of the goods and services that is offered to the Black community is sub-standard. In fact, this would not even be a topic of conversation if it were Georgetown or Capitol Hill. Marion Barry did not create the situation; he merely stated what is an undeniable fact. What is even more important is he as the democratically chosen representative of the residents of Ward 8, voiced the concerns and pains of what the residents, many of whom feel voiceless, have felt for years. This is what elected officials are supposed to do.
Many of the business owners in Ward 8 are not from Ward 8. They have no cultural connection or sensitivity to the community. They rarely support or participate in any community programs. They do not hire people from the community. However, they have no problem with taking the hard earned money from people in the community and using it to improve their own community. On one instance, a non-community business owner called the Metropolitan Police Department on the National Black United Front for distributing free food, clothes, medical supplies and personal hygiene products to the displaced residents of Ward 8. This was completely unacceptable.

Marion Barry went on to say that we need to have more people of African descent in America, establishing businesses in Ward 8. Having more Black owned businesses in the Black community is critical to the life of the Black community. This would help to create more jobs in Ward 8 and strengthen the community's economic and political power. Ward 8 residents would no longer have to spend many hours traveling to Montgomery, Arlington or Fairfax counties, allowing for more quality time with their families, if there were more Black owned businesses in the ward.

Attempting to always be politically correct, by tip toeing around the issue and/or making backroom deals and comments, only perpetuates the problem. It is the responsibility of elected officials to represent the cares and concerns of their constituents, publically as well as privately. Thank you Councilman Barry for representing the true feeling of the people, on this issue.

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