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Community Greets Freedom Party Slate



Once again, several hundred community members flocked to the Siloam Presbyterian Church. This time the occasion was the presentation of the complete Freedom Party Slate. Eva M. Doyle, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, came from Buffalo. Attorney General candidate Ramon Jimenez journeyed from the South Bronx.
Freedom Party Gubernatorial candidate Charles Barron was greeted with enthusiastic applause when he said, “Freedom Party! Freedom Party! I want you to meet together for the very first time Charles Barron for Governor, Lieutenant Governor candidate of our party Eva M. Doyle, and candidate for Attorney General Ramon Jimenez. I am so excited.”
Barron made this declaration: “I want to say to all gathered, we are going to get these signatures. We are going to get on the ballot. We are going to get more than 50,000 votes after we get on the ballot. And when we do, we are going to rock this state like it has never been rocked before. This will be the first time in the history of this state that we have a Black and Latino, Latino and Black-led party.  We welcome all to join our party. As you see in this room today, we have white supporters, and we thank you for your support.”
“It is time for this state to have a party of Black and Latino people unbought, unbossed and uncontrolled by the corporate interests in this state,” said Barron. “This is a party that is going to say no to war. The Freedom Party is saying no to balancing the budget on the backs of poor and working-class families in this state.”
Describing the current economic climate in New York State, Barron said, “Wall Street made $61 billion dollar profit last year, while everybody else was broke, in the middle of a economic crises. Tax the rich. What about a personal income tax surcharge: Those who make $500,000/ year – 1.5%;  one million a year/ 3.5%; five million a year/ 4.5%; those making ten million or more a year/ 5.5%. There are over 26 million people in NYS, only 63,000 people make that kind of money. If you tax them, you can get anywhere from $8-12 billion a year and the budget will be balanced.  How about a stock transfer tax – 10-15 cents on those stocks that are being transferred every year? You can get over $2 billion every year on a stock transfer tax. We will have a surplus.”
Barron outlined several other issues the Freedom Party will address. “We are the only party, the only team that is going to raise the question of police brutality and terror in our neighborhoods,” he said. “Not only stop-and-frisk, but also the abusive use of deadly force. They need to put down the guns and pick up some humanity and stop killing our people for no justifiable reason. We are going to be the only party that says to this nation that you have to rebuild and return our people to New Orleans. We are going to be the only party that says keep your welfare, keep your affirmative action, give us our reparations. It is a debt owed. We are going to be the only party that says the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Party members – those who are languishing in prison because of their political beliefs, their political actions – did their time.  Free our political prisoners.”
Barron closed his remarks by saying, “We are going to be the only party that says to this nation we are no longer going to sit back and allow you to put a racist state structure in NYS. That cannot happen. Fannie Lou Hamer got sick and tired of being sick and tired. She formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party for the same reason that we are starting the Freedom Party. Fannie Lou Hamer has to be smiling upon us. For you Fannie Lou Hamer, we say Freedom Party!”
In his introduction of the Freedom Party candidate for Lt. Gov., Barron said, “Mrs. Eva M. Doyle is an Afrocentric educator for 30 years. She has written several books. She writes for the Buffalo Criterion. Chrystal Peebles-Stokes, one of the legislators in Buffalo, said that when she heard that we had Mrs. Doyle with us, we got the most honorable, highly respected from Buffalo.”
Mrs. Doyle said, “I bring you greetings from a great number of hardworking people in Buffalo. We are excited about the Freedom Party. I brought with me today 300 signatures. As I speak now, brothers and sisters are on the battlefield in Buffalo collecting even more signatures.”
“I am doing double duty here,” said Doyle. “I am recording this for my newspaper column ‘Eye on History’, for the Criterion Newspaper, the oldest Black newspaper in western New York. I have been writing the column Eye on History for almost 32 straight years without stop. I describe it as the only weekly column on Black history in Western NY. I have taught as a teacher in the Buffalo public schools for 30 years. I believe in teaching Black history, not just in February but all year long.”
“As I was flying into NY, I thought about the Statue of Liberty. I told my students that the original Statue of Liberty was that of a Black woman,” Mrs. Doyle said. “The tablet she holds in her hand is a symbol of the Abolitionist Movement. I have written 11 books. When I finish this book on the Black Statue of Liberty, it will be my 12th book. I tell my students that Black history is all around us, even on the dollar bill.”
Eva Doyle told the crowd how she came to be on the ticket. “When I was asked to become candidate for Lt. Gov. under the Freedom Party, I must tell you I did not immediately say yes. As a matter of fact, I said no. I can’t do this,” she said. “But then something started to happen. People in Buffalo started to call me. Erie County legislator Billie Jean Grant said, ‘Please give this a little more thought.’ Attorney Alton Maddox called me just about every day. He is the most persuasive attorney I have ever met. Mr. Ted Perkins is the host of a radio show in Buffalo called Perkins Corner. I was listening to his show, relaxing. Alton Maddox was on the show and asked ‘Who do you think would be a good candidate for lt. gov.?’ Mr. Perkins said, ‘Well, what about Eva Doyle?’ I almost fell out of my chair.”
Mrs. Doyle gave two reasons why she accepted. She said she is participating “in the memory and spirit of the great Fannie Lou Hamer.” Mrs. Doyle spoke of her husband. “I lost my husband last March 2009. Brother Romeo Muhammad. We were married 44 years. If Brother Romeo was here, he would be in this room. He would be behind me 150%. Brother Romeo was a member of the Nation of Islam for 42 straight years. Now I am a member of the church – First Shiloh Baptist Church in Buffalo, New York.  A lot of people have asked me ‘How did you get along with Brother Romeo, a member of the Nation of Islam, and you are a member of the church?’ My husband always believed no matter what religion you were in, what faith you had, we are all Black people.  We are in the same struggle. I know Brother Romeo is smiling down on us. I know Brother Romeo would give me his blessings. He would have beat me to New York City. He would have paved the way, shaking everybody’s hand.”
Barron fought back tears while introducing Freedom Party candidate Ramon Jimenez. “When we think of Ramon, we think of Richie Perez,” Barron said. “Richie Perez was my friend. Whenever we wanted to bring the African-American and Latino community together, we called Richie Perez. I know he is smiling on us now, watching Ramon carry that mantle of making sure Blacks and Latinos stick together. Ramon comes in the spirit of Richie Perez.
Ramon Jimenez: “It is good to be back home. I was a Brooklynite until I was 8 years old. In the Bronx, we have a lot of struggles taking place. We have the Yankee Stadium struggle, where $1.5 billion was spent to build a mega-palace in the poorest congressional district in the United States.  They promised jobs. Let me tell you how many community people got a job in the demolition of Yankee Stadium. One.”
“The Freedom Party is about a movement. We are the mere instruments of that movement,” Jimenez said. “I have organized the South Bronx for many years. When I organized tenants, they are Black and Latino. When I organize parents, they are Black and Latino. When I work with the Woodlawn workers, they are Black and Latino. On the streets, at the base, Black and Latino unity is there every day.”
According to Jimenez, “Historically, some of the greatest movements took place in NY – City College, the movement for Black and Puerto Rican Studies, the Jesse Jackson campaign, saving Hostos Community College. Sometimes we don’t understand unity politics. The rich understand unity politics. The landlords, when they have to come together, come together. When the developers have to come together, come together over their common interests. We let little things divide us. This is the time. We got the biggest slap in the face with what the Democratic Party did. It is not just the Democratic Party. I used to work for the Workers’ Compensation Board as a judge. I used to be the head judge. In the 1980’s when I was a judge, there were 5 or 6 Black and Latino commissioners. Today, there is one Black commissioner. In the 1980’s when I was a judge, there were 15 Black and Latino judges at Worker’s Comp. Today, there is one.  It’s not just the Democratic Party. It is all over.  In a city that is 35% white, 70% of Bloomberg’s managers are white and Blacks and Latinos are being locked out.”
“It is a great honor to be invited to be a part of this ticket. We need a Freedom Party,” Jimenez said. “If we don’t have a Freedom Party, who is going to raise the issue of Wall Street being taxed? Do you think Andrew Cuomo or Rick Lazio is going to raise it? Who is going to raise the issue of gentrification? In an article the other day, Cuomo was investigating housing discrimination. I thought to myself, ‘You are late. It is the end of your term, and you just discovered discrimination in housing?’ In the South Bronx, we have tenant groups, antiviolence groups. The Freedom Party is the only one to talk about their issues. We have a chance to make history. I don’t want to rise from my people; I want to rise with my people! Freedom Party!”
Several whites were in attendance, including two ladies from the Million Worker March Movement. One said, “New York has been a place of Democratic seats having a lot of power. Republicans obviously don’t offer any alternative. Neither party is representing working-class people. In fact, they have taken a very strong pro-Wall Street stance. The laws that exist in the state of New York, like the Taylor Law that prohibits the public sector from striking, has taken the teeth right out of the labor movement. I think that this kind of party is a development that is giving grounds for more progressive politics, for more participation of the average person, who are not represented locally, not represented in Congress. Our tax dollars are used, but we don’t get the benefit.  Workers are not being represented.  We are asked to work, pay the taxes, bear the brunt of all the crises capitalists have thrust upon us. And we don’t get the benefits of it. I think this party will provide a potential platform for people to become politically active, put their demands forward, fight for them and force concessions.”
Kevin Powell, Democratic candidate for congress in the 10th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “I am a Democrat, but I came to listen and show support for Charles Barron and the folks here because they supported my campaign. I support third, fourth, fifth parties in this country. We need more than one or two parties. I definitely support that. I just want to listen. That is why I am here – to listen.”