Terry B. Jones Publisher, Data News Weekly
This weekend marked the beginning of a new regime in the leadership in Baton Rouge. Jeff Landry is now our state’s Governor and much of the state leadership is also Republican. Although Jeff Landry spoke of unity and platitudes that befitted the ceremonial aspect of the occasion, we must ask ourselves what will happen in the area of public policy and the everyday lives of the African Americans in the State of Louisiana.
Ask yourselves about what will happen in the areas of criminal justice. Where during his address, his use of language that included “uncivilized and outrageous” violent crime is a dog whistle to signify Blacks and the City of New Orleans. I would argue that the image that most Whites would conjure up when he said these words.
These are the times that we as citizens of the state ask ourselves what we must do to not have the hands of time tuned back. This means that those whom we have chosen to represent us must have the fortitude, courage, and principles to stand up for the rights of their constituents.
Also, we must provide a long-term agenda and measure of success for the African American residents of our city and state. African Americans make up 32.8% of the state’s population, therefore, it is important that whoever is in office whether Democrat or Republican, there is intentionality related to shaping policies that positively impact African Americans. This is especially relevant in the areas of education, workforce development, affordable housing, and economic opportunities. Indeed, this language is more suitable than some of the rhetoric and messaging Landry used to get elected.
Understanding that some of the exaggerations that many campaigns use is not useful in governing. Governor Landry, now you must govern, and this means for the benefit of all the people of our state.
Further, while his speech called for unity, questions remain about how should voices of dissent or differing perspectives be considered when he also stated concerning education, safeguarding school from “the toxicity of unsuitable subject matter.” Ask yourself, what does that mean? Critical Race Theory, Black History Month, critiques of the historical inequities that take place in American history. I ask Gov. Landry, what is so toxic about having a more inclusive conversation about race in our state, even if it is uncomfortable?
As we enter a Presidential Election Year, we as a community must become more educated, informed, and most importantly active in the things that impact our community. Additionally, we must create our narratives to combat the false and inaccurate portrayals of our community. We at Data News Weekly will continue our tradition of doing just that and being on the frontlines as “The People’s Paper.”
It is too early to forecast what the next four years will look like, but we must be vigilant in not letting this administration create policies that adversely affect our community and turn back the hands of time.