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It’s time to forge political unity

Melvin B. Miller
It’s time to forge political unity
“We gotta to go to the polls and build the strength of the black vote.”

When African Americans feel aggrieved, they are quick to go to the streets in protest. The opportunity to present a united political front occurs only every four years or so with formal elections. Tuesday, Nov. 7, is such an Election Day. It provides a unique opportunity for voters to go to the polls and express their opposition to the treatment of Boston citizens who are not of European descent.

On Feb. 16, 2014, the House of Representatives summarily evicted Carlos Henriquez by a vote of 146-5 because he was convicted on a misdemeanor assault charge brought by a disgruntled acquaintance. Henriquez was duly elected by voters in his district, and there were no House rules to permit such an eviction.

In September of that year, Felix D. Arroyo won the election for Suffolk Register of Probate. Apparently dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, employees of the agency began to sabotage operations. According to the Boston Globe account, “They were resentful of change and possibly motivated by racism.” A 66 page report by retired Judge Anthony R. Nesi that reveals the extent of the staff rebellion has not yet been made public.

As fate would have it, Register Arroyo’s son also became the victim of political power gone wrong. Felix G. Arroyo, a former candidate for mayor of Boston, was appointed by Mayor Marty Walsh to serve in the cabinet post as chief of Health and Human Services. But Arroyo was fired by Walsh when Arroyo was accused of sexual harassment by a department employee. However, the truth of the accusation has not yet been established by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Clearly there is a lack of respect in political circles for Boston’s black vote. Four years ago, several candidates entered the race for mayor to change that perception. The serious candidates were Felix Arroyo, John Barros, Charles Clemons, Charlotte Golar Ritchie and Charles Yancey. However, they lost and the final battle was between John Connolly and Marty Walsh, who won.

Arroyo and Barros were given top jobs in Walsh’s administration, but it seems with the summary firing of Arroyo that there is little job security. The goal now for blacks must be to go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and establish such a strong black vote that future politicians will be more reluctant to disrespect the interests of the community. Then win or lose in this election, the people will have begun to establish a political bloc of considerable value.

Vote on Tuesday, Nov.7.

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