For the past couple of years, California Black Media, a coalition of 22 African American newspapers across the state founded by myself and co-publisher Cheryl Brown, has sponsored a summit in Sacramento on various issues that impact the Black community. We invite experts on various topics to be a part of the panels so we can become better informed to educate our readers. This year the topics were “Crisis In Our Schools” and “Contracting With Our Small Businesses.”
Invitations were sent to select organizations to request that a high ranking policy maker represent that organization on the education panel and the CTA did not respond in a timely manner so we moved ahead. Working on a tight deadline to print the program and alert our readers of the event, we completed the process without CTA. CTA then contacted us and wanted to get on the panel and we said no. Our decision was no because it was too late.
This response sparked a threat from them as they reminded us about their advertising with Black Voice News in the past.
This incident happened at a time when I was reminiscing about my fiftieth year anniversary of graduating from segregated Jones High School in North Carolina. It was fifty years ago that I graduated from Jones High School in North Carolina with fond memories of my all Black teaching staff.
They, along with the community, had taught us that teachers were on par with preachers, doctors and lawyers. Fifty years later, I still believe that, but organizations that represent teachers have lost their way from the children they teach and have focused more time and money on bullying people who don’t agree with them.
Back in the early eighties, I supported a campaign that allowed teachers to be paid more for the required education they possessed in order to teach. I did that because my employer paid janitors with a high school diploma more than the school district paid beginning teachers. I thought this was wrong, so after my election to the San Bernardino Unified School District Board of Trustees I did something about the pay.
Later, I put my elected position on the line in support of Proposition 98. I went against my professional interests to take authority away from policy makers. I might add, I did this even though the Teachers Association did not support my first campaign.
Now I find my staff and business being threatened by the Teachers Association just because I am siding with our kids.
The CTA staff had researched their files and found out they had placed advertising with us as if that transaction bought our loyalty. Little did I know, this is why they purchased the space. I thought they had a message they wanted to share with the Black community. Now I have discovered their real motive. I have also found that to be true because they withdrew their funding from a branch of the NAACP in Los Angeles when the branch didn’t support their agenda.
Well I have news for CTA, and that is, my father taught me to be ready to move off of the sharecropping farm because when you disagree with the master, or he gets a burr in his pants, you might have to part company.
I don’t want to, but a man has to do what a man has to do; even if that means eating just beans. I remember one day with my last employer when the senior vice president called all of the Affirmative Action Coordinators into the conference room and threatened our jobs if the organization received a bad compliance review from the federal government. I could not believe my ears because we did not do the hiring, promoting, discipline, or terminating of any employees. When he finished speaking he did not want any questions so the threat could sink into our minds. At that moment, I had a flashback to what my dad had said about the master and his farm.
I immediately blurted out, sir, I cannot accept that threat from you because of, and cited several reasons. Then I said now we can take a break. Needless to say I went to the nearest phone and called my wife to say stock up on beans. That never happened because his boss saw the wisdom of my argument.
Unlike my employer, CTA has not put enough money into my business to have the same affect. I truly appreciate the business but now my questions are, how much do you spend with other Black-owned papers and radio stations in California? We have 7% of the student population. Do or have you spent 7% of your advertising budget with the Black community? You have 5% African American teachers paying association dues. Do you spend 5%with the Black community? Do you have 5% Blacks in your staff and are they serving in policy making positions? When have you advocated on behalf of any students that are low achievers or dropouts? When have you advocated on increasing the college going rate? When is the last time you have called and reached outto the Black community and said this is how we can help you?
I still stand ready to meet and work with CTA on matters of children and ways CTA can connect with the Black community because you are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to our children.
Kamala Harris for Attorney General
Gloria Negrete McLeod for State Senate
Wilmer Amina Carter for Assembly
Gloria Romero for Superintendent of Public Instruction
Dale Kinnear for Superintendent of Schools
Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney
Stan Sniff for Sheriff
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Gary Thomas for Superintendent of Schools
Mike Ramos for District Attorney
Rod Hoops for Sheriff
PROPOSITION 13 – YES
PROPOSITION 14 – NO
PROPOSITION 15 – NO
PROPOSITION 16 – YES
PROPOSITION 17 – NO