GoLocal on the House Majority Leader’s lack of interest in minority issues is an example for news media.
If journalism were really about holding the powerful accountable and approaching them with a skeptical eye, we’d see a lot more stories like this one, in which the GoLocal Prov News Team reported the difficulty that the minority women who make up the pro-charter-school group Stop the Wait RI have been having getting any response from Democrat Representative Christopher Blazejewski. The Harvard-grad lawyer and House Majority Leader isn’t alone:
“People co-opt the language of strong movements by learning how to say the right things. Actions always speak louder than words. You can’t center the voices of Black and Brown families, who are most impacted by the decisions you’re making, if you won’t even speak to them,” said Seguí Rodríguez
“Not one representative has tried to reach out to Stop The Wait RI to speak to any parents. A couple of Reps that I know personally were responsive to calls, but even my own Representative Barros hasn’t responded to me. Some Reps have responded to individual calls from other parents, but not one Rep that I have left a voicemail for, or just called has answered or called me back. I am an Afro-Latinx mother who wants a voice in my child’s education and it seems I’ve been blacklisted,” she said.
The featured image of this post is a photograph by Sandor Bodo featured in a glowing profile of Blazejewski by Katherine Gregg in the Providence Journal back in November, when he was elevated to Majority Leader and proclaimed “the highest-ranked Progressive Democrat.”
Those who join the progressive coalition should understand that their value to their supposed representatives is as a group, not as individuals. As long as you’re showing up at the correct rallies and helping to generate talking points for activists and reliably handing over your vote on the unproven basis that some politician is on your side, you matter. Step outside of that narrow lane, though, or come to a different conclusion on an important issue, and they won’t know what to do, so they’ll ignore you.
Escalate and make them notice or (worse) associate with their opposition because you’re actually being heard by them, and you’ll more likely than not be redefined outside of your proscribed identity group.