Why The BBQ Should Be Canceled
Black West Virginians must reconsider our support of Senator Joe Manchin who blocked several pieces of legislation that could have benefited Black people.
Why The BBQ Should Be Canceled
With the start of 2022, many states, including West Virginia, are resuming legislative sessions, state elections are upon us, and national elections will occur in 2024. Black folks will once again find ourselves on the hamster wheel of political pandering if we don't pivot. Now is the time that we become laser-focused on issues that concern us and cancel the BBQ indefinitely.
Black folks use the colloquialism "(insert name) is invited to the BBQ" when a non-black person or organization does something for Black people. While the phrase is used in jest, this creates a bad mentality amongst us. In many ways, Black folks have become the social justice doormats in which others acknowledge and use, but we are left in the cold when it comes to others advocating meaningful policies for us. I conjecture that now is the time to reevaluate what it means to have effective allies.
With the unjust killing of many Black people over the past several years, Black folks have become acutely aware of the damage of unchecked policies, which has caused us to address this through policy evaluation. We must use this focus on political issues to educate and properly organize to ensure that our progress isn't perpetually regressed. These include voting rights, economics, education, discrimination, criminal justice, and more. In West Virginia, we are still seeking a favorable resolution on the Crown Act and the removal of Confederate statues from our state capitol grounds. Too often, we find ourselves pleading with "allies" to prioritize our issues and not hijack our narratives for their benefit, while contending with our elected officials to observe our fundamental human rights. It is exhausting, and Black people must quail distractions to resolve issues that loom over our communities.
I would never advocate Black Americans seclude ourselves and not work with others. That would not be wise; we should work with those willing to work with us. However, people will inevitably become preoccupied with their issues and be limited in their willingness to advocate for others. At this time, Black people can ill afford to constantly be a trojan horse. Even some of our biggest allies have shown a dismissive attitude toward issues important to Black people. Jane Elliot, a well know white woman who teaches anti-racism, diverted a question about reparations for descendants of American slavery into advocating reparations for Native Americans instead. Locally, at the height of the social justice protests, several white allies in Charleston, West Virginia, attempted to stage a rally in the name of Black Lives Matter without permission from that organization. SOAR, an addiction response organization in West Virginia, set up a needle exchange program in a predominantly Black neighborhood without consulting residents or community leaders. Even many national programs intended on addressing historical disparities amongst Black Americans have become co-opted.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris recently went to Atlanta, Georgia to address voting rights, the filibuster, and several matters concerning to Black Americans. Several Black grassroots organizations chose not to be present during the speech. The message was clear; we need your action, not your talk if you want our support. In that same vein, Black West Virginians must reconsider our support of Senator Joe Manchin who blocked several pieces of legislation that could have benefited Black people.
Ultimately, the equitable results we seek cannot be accomplished through emotional connections or tradition, but rather strategic associations based on an expected outcome. Therefore, instead of inviting those who wish to partner with us to the BBQ, let's schedule a meeting and talk numbers, business, intent, and strategy.
Hollis Lewis is a legal professional, adjunct criminal justice professor, and co-chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party Black Caucus.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get the latest headlines from Black by God right in your inbox weekly.
More in Civics from Black by God
An Open Letter To Senators Rucker, Azinger, Sypolt, Karnes, Maynard and Delegates Pritt, Smith, Tully, Longanacre, G. Ward, Maynor, Crouse, Clark, Horst, and Hanna
The Tuesday Morning Group requests allocation of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to support initiatives in West Virginia’s census tracts with poverty rates 20% or higher
As West Virginia’s crisis of jail overcrowding and rising incarceration rates continue, justice-impacted people and criminal law reform advocates rallied Tuesday at the State Capitol on various pieces of legislation currently under consideration.
West Virginia will continue to have a Legislature that looks less and less like the demographics of the state as a whole, with women and people of color further underrepresented in House and Senate chambers, and with white men over-represented by a factor of 185 percent.
When I bring up the fact that Black West Virginians make up less than 4% of the state’s population but 19% of the non-violent cannabis arrests, they’re not trying to hear it." ~ Rusty Williams
West Virginia has $1.335 billion from American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to spend in the next four years KANAWHA COUNTY: $34,598,499 MONONGALIA COUNTY: $20,513,893 MCDOWELL COUNTY: $3,423,255 CHARLESTON: $36,801,358 BECKLEY: $7,698,933 JANE LEW: $160,000 KERMIT: $150,000 OCEANA: $500,000
"..be able to swat down a bad-faith argument before it begins can go a long way in centering the most important topics." ~ Senator Owens Brown.
Hundreds in attendance to hear from speakers who shared their experience and expertise on policy issues impacting Black West Virginians and why it’s important for Black West Virginians to participate in the policymaking process.
On Jan. 17 nine people were arrested during a protest in downtown Charleston. The protesters were calling on Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
"People of color need policies to thrive in West Virginia. We protest in the streets and go to court for things we are not protected by. Black people are always fighting for all and never make those elected officials accountable." Del. Walker
West Virginians and New Yorkers Demand The Passage of Voting Rights Act In Historic Black Church In Charleston West Virginia
Policy & Process
In November 2021 Black By God published an article “Young Women ‘Match Harassment’ at Abortion Clinic with Motivational Messages” 🗞 In 2022 they share that story on the WV Capitol steps.
As Senator Manchin continues to negotiate with his colleagues in Washington, our families here at home continue to suffer.
A BBG Community Journalism Project
Impression of the presentation regarding the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants In West Virginia by Samuel Moss
By Folk Reporter and Charleston Native Samuel Moss - Husband, Father, Inventor
We know there is no real democracy when the public is not actively participating in the legislative process. #useyourvoice That’s why we’re calling upon BBG readers to speak loudly through your online platforms to ensure your representatives still hear how their policy decisions will impact your life.
YOUNG, BLACK, & GIFTED in West Virginia Policy
OUR MOST READ 2021 STORY West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Petty Pursuit Of Greenbrier East’s Boys Basketball Coaching Job
"Justice has to take everything personally because otherwise, he’d have to live in the world of facts, and those are rarely on his side."
Folk Reporters And Survey Input Needed
As we plan for a curious 2022 Legislative Session. A look back at the 2021 West Virginia Black policy agenda with BBG Folk Reporter Kate Jordan.
How public tensions of African American leaders openly advanced debate and provide forums for philosophical disagreement.
Republican Legislators Recognize Racism and White Supremacy In West Virginia.
Sen. Capito’s Lack of Support for the Freedom to Vote Act & Spread of Misinformation to West Virginian Constituents
November 5, 2021, a coalition of West Virginia Faith Leaders, Community Organizers, and Activist from across West Virginia and the country held a nonviolent demonstration blocking the entrance of Senator Joe Manchin’s Charleston office.
The window of opportunity for action on Cannabis Reform in West Virginia is wide open! Change for West Virginians is more possible more than ever before.
Much like Nero fiddling while Rome was on fire, far too many of our politicians are more interested in self-preservation than preserving our democracy.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death and disability among Black males ages 15-34. Communities of color, specifically Black neighborhoods, families, and youth, are disproportionately impacted by community violence and trauma.
West Virginia doesn’t need qualified immunity. We need assurance that our officers will truly protect and serve our communities.
While it was exciting that the WVDP finally developed the diversity caucuses, we left the first meeting with the executive committee deflated.
“We’ve had no input on this plan,” said Hollis Lewis, co-chair of the party’s recently formed Affirmative Action Committee.
West Virginia has the microphone. Use it!
How can we help the Class Of 2021 in West Virginia as they begin their lives in the adult world of decision-making?
#wvleg #wvpol #Blackpolicy
Something To Celebrate In West Virginia
As crossover day and the close of the WV Legislature is approaching, Black By God Folk Reporter Kate Jordan shares how her session began.
Enjoy Our Sunday Cartoon.