Saturday, February 20, 2016

Yes, Unique, The Black Trailblazer Is Alive and Well in American Politics

The Green Room was alit with excitable greetings amongst the many champions of public policy.  Provocative conversations about China's economy and its impact on the US economy, Nannie Helen Burroughs cultural impact and the chasms between the Republican establishment and Tea Party radicals were fervent and boisterous.  Amidst the afternoon's electricity, a little 5 year old girl stood, bracing herself between two chairs, awaiting the opportunity of her life.  How great it would be to return to her DC charter school to tell all that she had met her favorite Trailblazer.

Was she waiting for the elegant, former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll?  No.  Maybe it was one of America's Great Jack Kemp Urban Economic pioneers, Robert Woodson, that stirred her fancy?  No.  Unique's choice of admiration was for a conservative that best supported her efforts to lead her dance and baton twirl team--Music Star BriaMarie.  Posing with the "Fresh Princess", pressing her autographed CD to her heart, Unique exuded a sense of appreciation, ambition and hope that could only be found at the Fourth Annual “Black Republican Trailblazer Awards Luncheon™” in Washington, DC.

Black Americans for a Better Future”, founded by longtime Republican political operative, syndicated newspaper columnist and author Raynard Jackson, hosted a transformational, intergenerational weekend event.  Not anchored to the symbols preferred in emanating a message that one is reaching out to "blacks" to try the Republican brand, Jackson chose the Willard International, across the street from the White House, to openly defy the myth, accepted woefully on both sides of the aisle, that it is a bleak pursuit of promise to recruit voters from Urban America.  With grace and precision, he honored such Titans as Carroll, Woodson, Trailblazing financier Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr.,  Legendary ABA/NBA Basketball Player James “Jimmy” Jones, George H. W. Bush Presidential Library CEO Fred D. McClure and Webster University Graduate School Professor Allegra McCullough while promoting the values and principles of the conservative movement.  Jackson weaved the personal victories of titans with the aspirations of grassroots champions not availed the limelight by National Republican organizations.

Who'd heard of West Virginia Delegate Jill Upson (R) outside of the coal mines of the Appalachian Mountains?  Having lost by 286 votes to a Democrat incumbent in 2012, she faced challenges deemed insurmountable by those that believe outreach is advancing "anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage" messaging in urban centers during elections.  She faced a Democrat incumbent in a population that was highly registered Democratic.  With the encouragement of WV GOP Chair Conrad G. Lucas II, in 2014, Upson took her "Limited, lean and effective government and Low taxes" message to We the People and became the first Black Female Republican ever to represent West Virginia District 65.  Who knew? Standing before the Honorees, Upson enlightened us that victorious Trailblazers, obscured by the    competition for every black voter, desire national notoriety through media invitations and fiscal support for their grassroots achievements.  October endorsements before November general elections are nice but, pioneering campaigns need the reward of faithful party supporters.

Upson is not the only candidate desiring to "feel the love" of a Party that is repenting from its years of absence from Urban America and rededication to black voters.  Ralph Chittams, Sr., DC GOP Vice Chairman, and Teri Galvez, former DC Republican Vice Chairwoman, represent the faces of urban conservative messengers that have trail blazed in communities adverse to the GOP machine.  Each seeking delegate posts at the Republican National Convention understands that the modern GOP must not only be seen and heard but must protect the values and principles of the GOP Platform.  Chittams advises that, while bold electoral candidates are great, the real power is behind the scenes in recruiting men and women that desire not to change the platform to recruit voters but seek to secure the platform to re-engage voters.  The re-engagement is essential to reach persons that, after 50 years of Democrat rule, seek a message of entrepreneurship, safe neighborhoods and prosperity that is not dependent on bureaucratic promises.  Terri Galvez understood the power of Trailblazers weekend.  Not merely an attempt to check off a GOP event celebrating Black History month, the weekend brought the isolated into family.  She messaged her friends via Facebook:

"As [I] look around and see a room full of Black Republicans this is really a place called #Hope Black Republicans for a Better Future. Thanks Kenneth McClenton for inviting me! #DCGOP"

On islands in urban progressive party politics, for once, Chittams and Galvez could see that their pioneering in the winter of Urban GOP discontent was meriting the attention and hope that they deserved.

Jackson knows that urban warriors have been holding down the fort in the absence of the National GOP support for decades.  The Weekend gave hope to Trailblazer Awardee "Jimmy" Jones who by sport reaches people that have become deaf to the "outreach" offense.  It gave hope to Harold E. Doley II, son of Trailblazer Awardee financier Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr., as he seeks opportunities to open capital access to Urban innovators and businesses mired in the dearth of financial deserts.  It gave hope to Shannon Wright running for Baltimore City Council President who has to rebuild the City GOP while campaigning against the Black Lives Matter Machine.  Help is on the way.  For a five year old award winning baton twirler, there is hope.  She could love her hero up close and pioneer for the future in the same place.  Yes, Unique, you are the Promise and we should pursue you with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength.  You are worthy of the chase not because of the color of your skin but because of the content of your beautiful, youthful character.

Trail blaze on, Baby, Trail blaze on!

Monday, February 1, 2016


Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.
W. H. Auden

Returning home in the very late evening from the State of the Union Address, my good friend, Upward Bound Promotions LLC CEO & Founder Henderson Long, sent me a note via Facebook.  His message, as true friends will do, reminded me that the Battle to bring awareness and solutions to unresolved homicides, missing persons cases and exploited child cases is never ending.  Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton's (D-DC) invitation was a tremendous honor to the Open Heart Close Case Movement.  "Too many D.C. residents and other Americans across the country have experienced the overwhelming pain of losing a loved one to gun violence," Norton said. "I am welcoming Mr. McClenton to the State of the Union to honor the memory of his daughter and other families."  I would have preferred Charnice Milton covering the Address as the esteemed journalist that she was.  However, the honor allowed me the comfort of imagining her sitting in the Gallery, writing in her long pad, planning the early morning preparation of an article for her Hill Rag and East of the River Editor Andrew Lightman.  The persons for which this Movement was founded spurs me in fighting this battle against our culture of fear and death.  Charnice and Relisha Rudd will receive the justice due their names.

Ideas matter. Legislative proposals matter. Slick campaigns and dazzling speeches can work for a while, but the magic always wears off.
Charles Krauthammer

Without the combined advocacy of parents, faith leaders and neighborhood activists, legislatures and and administrations will continue the dance that results in hundreds of murders.  Pandering to believers that there are not enough laws on the books, politicians avert public policies that will enable police and prosecutors to perform at the highest level of public service.  Law Enforcers are ridiculed on streets and, now, even highways, by all terrain vehicle and off road motorcycle riders.  Criminals rule without fear of reprisal.  They are legitimized by "don't chase" policies and residents that uphold their leisure protests as sincere nullification of the law.  For January 2016, the District of Columbia suffered six murders.  Of the lot, four are unresolved.  The message is clear.  The Lack of Arrests and Prosecutions seemingly gives license to those that murder.  Without fear of resolutions and penalties, areas of the City where the culture of fear and death prevail are subject to the perils of domestic terrorism.   Children fear the loss of their loved ones.  Parents, unable to defend their families, live out their days in neighborhoods that hope the State will eventually provide the protections promised.  The criminal element double down and further enforce their unrestrained terror.  Wash, rinse and repeat!

When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.
Simone Weil

Political pandering heightens the concern that Government must do something and that the crime victims' communities offer the best petri dish for societal experimentation.  In the District of Columbia, Crime Bill Proposals like Mayor Muriel Bowser's and Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Chair Pro Tempore, offer the status quo responses that leave citizens concerned that their constitutional rights will be infringed upon or that a Social Workers' Utopia will be presented for PowerBall-like funding in the Budget.  Only those that face this challenge directly can solve this prudently.  We don't seek panderers.  We don't seek profiteers.  We seek Justice.  The privileges of the criminal should never exceed the rights of crime victims.  It is in the seats of the power of the people that we can hold administration's accountable, repel the ambitious desires of noblemen seeking higher office and   As for Henderson's late night message, nothing could propel a man more than the question: "What's Next?"

To the Legislatures!

Across the country, state, city and local legislatures are assembling to do the people's business.  Some lobby for the well being of their interests and others for their collective noble endeavors.   It is time for the voiceless--unresolved homicide, missing persons and exploited children victims' families and advocates--to advance upon the assembly leaders and demand accommodations.  Advocates in urban centers that have seen significant increases in violence and decreases in the resolution of violent crime cases must demand better of those sworn to serve us.   
In St. Louis County, Missouri State Highway Patrol Total Active Missing lists 148 persons.  Of the lot, only 36 have pictures.  Literally, we know that 112 persons are missing but we do not know what they look like.  What is even worse, without the victims' picture, there is no corresponding poster.  How might information be disseminated to the public and social media outlets that seek the recovery of missing persons.  "When a child goes missing, the first 3 hours are the most crucial in finding the child safely. Approximately 76.2% of abducted children who are murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction".  This is complicated by the fact that "it can take over 2 hours to get information about a missing child from a panicked parent."  St. Louis County is not the only state, city or local agency failing to meet the singular requirement of making certain that the public has as much information about suspects and missing persons as possible.  We encourage Alderman Jeffrey Boyd and other legislators to fund and monitor improvements to the dissemination of public information about unresolved homicides, missing persons and exploited child cases.

DC Councilmember McDuffie has presented “a public health approach to crime prevention” that will cost the city $3.9 million in the current fiscal year and $25.6 million through the end of 2019.  The District’s Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt said, "the city also does not have the funds to implement it."  We applaud the fact that legislators want to do something to reduce crime.  Wonderful!  Beautiful!  However, crimes have been committed.  They have gone unsolved.  "Most investigators agree that the first 48 to 72 hours are critical to solving a homicide case. Witnesses are easier to locate, and their recollections generally prove more accurate soon after the incident.  Research has shown that in 66 percent of solved murder cases, police take a suspect into custody within 24 hours.  If the case is not solved within 48 hours, the chances of it ever being solved fall markedly."  There are more succinct and cost effective modes of solving crimes and preventing future violence than inviting the local university professor to sit in a kumbayah session with a group of  fiends seeking to blame their ancestors for their modern choices of deceit and death.

DC's Cold Case Unit is an 8 member team responsible for bringing to justice culprits that have hidden in the shadows to avoid arrest and prosecution.  Through the Violent Crime Case Review Project, they review all homicides that have occurred in the District of Columbia – going back as far as records are available.  The review process is systematic – with years being reviewed in turn.  It is a slow process and is expected to take several years to complete.  Cases are pulled and reviewed out of turn when: (1) The family of a homicide victim makes an inquiry about the status of their loved one’s case; (2) New information – including forensic information – becomes available; an (3) An outside law enforcement agency makes an inquiry about a case.  Yet, the burden is greater than a mere 8 detectives could possibly handle.  In the past 14 years, the DC Metropolitan Police Department has recorded approximately 642 unresolved homicides, averaging 46 yearly.  That's right Mr. and Ms. Legislator, 46 killers a year go back into the shadows of our City.  Unmolested by police inquiry.  Unaffected by tireless prosecution.  Awaiting your sincere bid to fund their job searches and stipend their studies.

To all legislatures, I proffer three remedies.  Hire more cold case detectives.  Tell me how many cases can reasonably be handled 8 detectives.  Sincerely, is the District desirous of sending a potent message to Urban American domestic terrorists when they have a ratio of 80 unresolved homicides to each 1 detective.  The DC Cold Case Unit should be at least tripled with the new detectives sited in the areas where violent crime is more prominent.  Secondly, open the doors legislatively to private detectives  partnering with public detectives.  The District of Columbia has about 70 detectives handling homicide cases.  They do a tremendous job in closing murder cases.  However, the criminal industry's production outstrips the abilities of public detectives to keep up.  

Howard Comen, Comen International Detective Agency, was moved upon coming to knowledge of the loss of my daughter Charnice and the extenuating circumstances behind the missing Relisha Rudd.  His compassion led him to seek assistance from his peers in resolving unresolved cases in Urban America, especially to potential clients that could, because of financial lack, never afford high quality private investigative work.  Upon public appeal, Comen received the pledges of over 70 private detectives from around the world to commit to 20 hours a month of pro bono efforts in solving the most hardy unresolved cases.  The detectives have investigative experience from such institutions as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Treasury's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Secret Service and even the Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (KGB).  Yes, even the KGB!  Imagine if each of these detectives could partner with the DC MPD on behalf of impoverished homicide victims' families.  Bringing closure after 1 year, 5 years, 20 years in absence of an answer.  When The Open Heart Close Case Campaign extended this gift, this tool, to the DC Detectives leadership, we were greeted with boisterous "NO!"  Why?  DC MPD does not trust outside groups, do not want to share case information and do not want to verify the licences of all these detectives.  There are those that privately seek to bring closure that a limited government can not offer.  Our legislatures must pursue public-private partnerships in serving justice and securing the rights of victims.

Finally, both culprit and victim's family should be assured as speedy and just an investigation as a legal decision.  I propose that the DC City Council create Criminal Courthouses in Wards 5, 7 and 8.  As the federal government cuts budgets, justice must be meted and affirmed for prosecution and defense alike.  The Courts' greatest responsibility is to uphold the Rule of Law.  Abiding by this duty separates it from the modern social services agencies, private and public.  Judges, while agents of the state, are not supposed to express fidelity to social philosophy as mode of rendering verdict.  Judges are to provide an environment by which both sides, without corruption, act within the confines of procedure.  It is the judge's purview to sentence in accord with the Law.  Juries, diverse in selection, are entrusted with the decision as to the guilt or innocence of an individual based on fact, not fiction or philosophy.  Courts are responsible for the people, from whom power is received to create laws, are those empowered to make certain their voices and laws are adhered by rule.  It does not help that politicians seek to protect criminals from lengthy incarceration.  When murder reigns unrestrained, civility is threatened.  No social worker or infringement of the Constitutional rights of the citizenry will secure the society as men and women upholding the Rule of Law in their community.  Building these courts acknowledges that the people have the power to rule and to prosecute those that seek to terrorize them.  Civility settles neighbors.  Injustice keeps men at war.

Our legislatures must renounce their contempt for solving crime by confounding us with expensive experimentation in crime prevention.  Legislators must fund and monitor improvements in disseminating public information about unresolved homicides, missing persons and exploited child cases.  Our legislatures must pursue public-private partnerships in serving justice and securing the rights of victims.  We must also build courts where they are needed most.  The temporal gain of subsidized peace pales in comparison to people governing themselves in peace.