Retired police officer Michael Greys made public his intent to run for mayor on the Freedom Party line.
The announcement, during which attorney Michael Lloyd stepped forward to run for Public Advocate, took place during a United African Movement rally. Greys — a member of UAM — is also a member of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. He started his public service in the Guardians.
Greys listed his top agenda items: stop-and-frisk and police shootings of African-Americans. Attorney Alton Maddox said, “Everybody is talking about law-and-order. We have a law-and-order candidate who will bring order to the law.”
Speaking at length about gentrification and the displacement of Black people from their communities, Greys asked, “Where do we turn? Who do we go to when Black elected officials gentrify our communities?”
Greys was the original candidate for governor on the Freedom Party line in 2010 – a reaction to the lack of minority representation on Andrew Cuomo’s slate — until Council member Charles Barron usurped the position. Although the nascent party had acquired 43,000 signatures statewide to get on the ballot, that year’s general election garnered 20,000 votes, nowhere near the 50,000 needed to gain permanent ballot status for the party.
Attorney-at-War Alton Maddox said there is a reason why white folk vote on a variety of party lines: to keep the Democratic and Republican Parties accountable. “We intend to win,” said Maddox, “because those who don’t have vision at this moment will get vision on Sept. 11 when they are looking at Christine Quinn” (or Anthony Weiner as the Democratic nominee). Greys added, “Other people will not see it until their candidate is gone.”
This year’s Freedom Party slate – which may include down ballot candidates for City Council races across the city – is designed to militate against splitting minority voting strength and the very real risk of having zero candidates of color emerge from the September 10th primary. It is a replication of the strategy employed in Brooklyn’s 2006 congressional race when at least five Black candidates and David Yassky were vying for the seat in a Section 5 Voting Rights District. That year, the Freedom Party fielded Sankofa International Academy founder Mrs. Ollie McClean as insurance against the off-chance Yassky might have won the Democratic Primary to prevent what Alton Maddox characterized at the time as the possibility of a “public embarrassment” to the African-American voters of central Brooklyn.
During the next couple of weeks, UAM members plan to organize and “wake people up” in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, said Maddox.
“This is bigger than a campaign for mayor,” said Dr. Leonard Jeffries. “It is the restoration of African humanity.”
“Every moment, every day is a contribution. Blacks and Latinos can write their own future,” said Greys.
“We want to inspire people to work for this because we think it is right.”