A Renewed Call for African American Political Participation


By Dr. John E. Warren

Recently, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) met in San Diego, California some 600 strong. One of the clear messages carried in the UT coming from this meeting was the call for voter registration increases among Latinos and the election of more Latino elected officials, around the country. The discussion of efforts to build Latino political power was reminiscent of the same call for Black elected officials some forty years ago when the total number, according to the Joint Center for Political Studies, was only 1500. Today it is reported that the total number of Black elected officials stands at more than 10,000. But one would not know that living in California, where the number of Black elected officials is diminishing and being replaced by Latino persons across the board.

There is no argument to be held with the Latino community for doing the exact same thing Blacks did in California 40 years ago. The only problem is that Blacks appear to have become apathetic and lost interest in both voting and politics, while others are increasing their struggle for a share of the pie. This is an issue that African Americans at least in California had better pay attention to between now and November while there is still time to have an impact on this election.

We would like to hear your views on this matter.