Photo: Boston Community Leadership Academy with Mayoral candidate Tito Jackson
The city of Boston has an African American candidate, Tito Jackson running in the general mayoral election. This is the first time since Mel King, an African American, won in the primary to participate in the general election, and losing to Ray Flynn in 1983.
Tito Jackson visited Brighton High School and Boston Community Leadership Academy to engage young people about his work. Discussions with Tito and students sparked a conversation on the, “school to prison pipeline” caused a very sound student to ask why Tito Jackson should run. Tito highlighted that people of color; black and brown people ought to own their educational practice and purpose in a very chaotic world, while still contributing to change the system.
The question is how more effective would Tito, as an African American mayor, be compared to the current mayor? Considering all of the police brutality, homicides, dropout rates from high school to college, gentrification, union misrepresentation, and lack of racial representation in all public and private sectors of the workplace, Tito sure has a great challenge ahead of him.
In a way, this campaign is like an elephant in the room. The imagery of white and black candidate plays out in a way that avoids a serious conversation on race. Also the question of who has power and the nature of the capitalistic economy is also avoided. Those that have money, and perpetuate inequality, are the ones who have power in this system of oppression.
Surely, Tito Jackson can do “something” for the Black and Brown communities, which is not a bad thing. However, democracy for black people must be rooted with Black workers at the core putting forth demands for equity. That means we need someone from the masses that represents democracy so that it is upheld and held accountable by the people. Our greater community needs a continual stream of black workers that are engaged in all of the democratic process. But this is just part of a process that can push us towards a more revolutionary process.
As a community, it is important that we make our voices heard in Boston’s next Mayoral election. More importantly we must follow up with the Black electorate to continue demanding equity for Black, Brown and poor people in our city. Terms like multi-cultural, diversity, integration, merit-based, and democratic are used to hide the issues of black people and people of color. Boston is clearly not the equitable city that’s on brochures.