By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher

It has often been said that those who don’t learn from the past will repeat their mistakes. But looking at the past is not always the same as learning from it. Some see mistakes and blame others. Some face mistakes and decide to do better. For “us” individually and collectively there are some important lessons. We saw a Black woman almost become governor of a state; We saw a Black woman in San Diego run for the first time for the Office of District Attorney; We saw a Black man in the State of Florida almost become governor and we had a third African American run for governor in the State of Maryland. We saw more African Americans elected to Congress and we saw Black voter participation increase in some areas in spite of voter suppression efforts.

We saw growing incidents of hate crimes, Black Church burnings and more Black men being killed by police in spite of public outcries, demonstrations and protest. This suggests an underlying determination that killing black men first and facing prosecution later will result in no charges. We have seen and we are seeing a nation now ruled by presidential reaction to talk show hosts. No longer do we have a two-party system seeking to serve the people who elected them to office, but rather a country divided by an extreme right element only concerned about its own narrow interest in spite of the world around us. “The Extreme Right” has gerrymandered election districts so that they retain control of the U.S. Senate, regardless of how most people vote.

What we should have learned from all of this is that now is the time to start preparing for 2020 elections; now is the time to focus on voter registration; now is the time to identify and organize around issues that we determine are our priority for our communities and not have others do so for us. Now is the time to consider, but not hastily commit, to those who come early looking for our votes. To make early commitments without results inhand can only lead to a lack of participation in decision making.

2019 is a new year with new options for old problems. Let’s learn from the past mistakes of wrong choices and no action, and plan a proactive and not a reactive future for our concerns and issues.

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