by Scherie Murray
President Barack H. Obama is out and President Donald J. Trump is in, just as Black History Month is about to begin. President Trump won in the face of incredible odds and now is the time Black America should brace itself for a victory as well. The question still remains, “What the hell do you have to lose?” I don’t have the answer nor am I offended. One thing I know for sure is, I’m pumped!
President Trump is establishing himself as a Conservative, pro American, law and order President, and the world is watching to see if the platforms he delivered on the campaign trail will fix America. Some may not agree with his style of politics, however, the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, as the 45th President of the United States should be a wake up call for Black Americans. The transfer of power wasn’t just from one political party to another; it was from Washington, D.C. back to the American people. Now is our time to craft mandates for the first one hundred days of the Trump administration, which should be controlled by us. Our position is to ensure that we have a pathway to the power that governs our lives no matter which party holds power. It’s time to step up and have stronger voices in our communities and country again. We must claim this path if American democracy is going to work for us.
A criminal justice mandate would make reforms to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act or VCCLEA aka The Crime Bill, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. The Crime Bill, sec. 20411., eliminated the ability of lower-income prison inmates to receive a college education during their term of imprisonment, ensuring that the education level of most inmates remains unimproved for the period of their incarceration. The criminal justice mandate would petition Congress to reinstate Pell Grant funding for all prisoners who would qualify despite their incarceration status. An equality mandate would call for President Trump to address the lack of diversity in his cabinet picks, outline an urban agenda and tackle legislation that disproportionately affects the lives of Women and Americans across the country.
The struggle continues for emancipation and equality, which needs to be met with strong, persistent, and unyielding activism. We must acknowledge that Black Americans continue to play a conspicuous role in that struggle. Black Americans should be ready to take back their piece of the American dream by identifying specific policy issues and presenting them to members of the U.S. Congress. The best defense is a good offense and a Trump Presidency can be as good or as bad as we make it. Former President Barack Obama should be named the most influential Black American Civil Rights leader of today; yet, Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass still hold the distinction.
The success of our mandates and the future of our communities depend upon us. Black America must prepare it’s own insurgence on the Executive Branch, since the executive agenda that has already taken shape does not include Black Americans at the table; we can assume our domestic interests may not be on the table either. Besides the politics, the Trump Presidency should provide a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to start a business or to grow an existing business. Communities across the country will soon enjoy increased funding for school choices, infrastructure, Veteran services and law and order, to name a few. Our actions over the next four years will have a greater impact on our successes and or failures than any changes that may result from the Trump Administration.§
Scherie Murray is a mother, communications professional and State Committee Woman of the 29th Assembly District (Republican) in Southeast Queens.