African-American Issues Brings Together Hundreds at Convention
Freedom Party Hosts First Statewide Convention
Several hundred from around the state packed the historic Siloam Presbyterian Church to ratify Council member Charles Barron as the Freedom Party’s candidate for governor. Barron named Eva Doyle as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor. Mrs. Doyle is a longtime activist, educator, columnist, book author and host of her own radio show called “Eye On History” that airs weekly on station WUFO in Buffalo, NY.
Barron appeared before the enthusiastic crowd wearing a black T-shirt emblazened with “Freedom Party” in bold white lettering and the party’s symbol, chains divided with the word “unchained.”
Freedom Party gubernatorial candidate Charles Barron’s address:
“We have to keep this momentum going. They are hoping we have a one-day event. That we will get all excited and then come tomorrow, it will have been just a good event. What they bet is that we won’t get the signatures. They know we are going to get the votes. They are betting we won’t get the signatures. Everything now is about those signatures. Getting on the ballot. We know that if we come with 40-50,000 signatures, they know we are going to get on that ballot, because there will be 15,000 good ones. And when we get on the ballot, we are going to rock this state. We’ve got to get on the ballot. We are going to be working on a platform. We are going to be working on a strategy. After we get the party, a structure. But right now, it’s money and signatures. That’s the bottom line – money and signatures. That is going to be the challenge for us. We know we can get 15,000 signatures. But what they want us to get is 100 from 15 different congressional districts. Thirteen are downstate. We are going to do that. No doubt.
Let me tell you why we are doing this. This is the perfect time for us to do it. This is the time for us to strike like we have never struck before. There comes a moment in history that you just can’t miss. They have the nerve to go to Rye, NY have their meeting – the State Democratic Party, with all of these Black leaders in the State Democratic Party. (Barron then described this year’s Democratic slate.) This was a political blackout. So since they don’t want you in, let’s step out. Do our thing. Let’s form an independent black-led party. Somebody said to me is this party only for black people? No. It’s going to be black-led, but anybody can join us. We welcome anybody but we are leading this. We said, you don’t want us, fine. Let’s do our own party. This is shaking them up.
The last time we did this, brother Jitu and I, we got Mary France Daniels, Ron Daniels wife on the ballot. She got on the ballot and got 10,000 votes. We got 20,000 signatures from 15 different congressional districts. This time, we are going to get on the ballot and get 50,000 votes and be an independent black-led party. The first one in the history of this state.
We have to do this for Fannie Lou Hamer. In 1963, she was beaten to a pulp trying to get a party, trying to get respect. They beat her badly in jail. Because the same structure in Mississippi – all white slate – is identical to the NYS structure. Identical to Mississippi in 1964. Fannie Lou Hamer fought and she got her Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She said she got sick and tired of being sick and tired. She took over the convention and the whole nation had to listen to Fannie Lou Hamer. Fannie Lou Hamer, to your spirit, we are continuing the fight. If she could do it in Mississippi in 1964, we can do it in NY.
We need a Freedom Party. We are sick of the two corporate-run parties. Corporations run this state. Who ever pays you, that’s the one who you dance to their tune. The Freedom Party is going to be free from corporations. It will be the people’s party. We will finance us so that we can be free. There is no two-party system there is one party – Republocrats. It doesn’t matter who gets in.
Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s daddy, built more prisons in NYS than any other governor in the history of this state. This is a man who took your vote for granted. Then put all your children in prison.
We are saying today that the Freedom Party, when we come together, and they try to balance a budget, we are not going to let them spend it on Yankee Stadium and Steinbrenner. We are not going to let them spend the money on the Mets and the Nets arena, and then shut down day care centers and senior citizen centers. Don’t want to build any youth centers. Shutting our schools down. Having the nerve to have the homeless pay rent. How do you take MetroCards from our children and they have to demonstrate just to have you give them back? That kind of nonsense in this state must stop. The Freedom Party is going to put an end to that kind of madness.
The Freedom Party is going to talk about political prisoners. Nobody else will. There are brothers and sisters languishing in the state jails. They did their time. They gave them 25 to life, well they did 25 years. 25 good years in prison. Let them out. Let out freedom fighters out of prison. If it wasn’t for the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army and all of those groups that fought for liberation, we wouldn’t be in this church talking about Freedom Party today.
The Freedom Party is going to fight for our reparations. They paid the Jews. They paid the Japanese. Pay the Africans for your colonization of Africa. Pay the Africans for what you did to us in the Caribbean. Pay the Africans for what you did to us right here in America. America violated us, and reparations is a debt owed for service provided. You can’t work us for free, then tell us that happened a long time ago. We are going to put a commission together in this state, we are going to study the impact of slavery on our communities economically. Pay us our reparations. Then you can keep your welfare. We built this nation. 246 years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow and racism and you talk about you don’t owe us nothing. You benefitted off the wealth of our labor. It is time for us to be paid. The Freedom Party will raise these types of issues. It can happen. All things are possible.
It is time for us to stand up like men and women, like John White stood up for his family. Stand up for your family. Get your spine straight. Don’t be afraid. I don’t care about you threatening to take my life. You didn’t give me life and you never can take my life. There is a greater source, a greater power in charge of that. Take my freedom and put me in jail. Bring it. Freedom is a mental thing. I will never be in jail no matter how many bars are in front of me, because my mind will not allow me to be imprisoned. Take my material wealth. I could care less. Keep your little material wealth. I am not interested.
Here we have a $63 billion budget. The City Council passes the budget. We can tell this city that this is how we want the money spent because we are the new majority. Stand up and say the money is going to be spent in the ‘hood for our people because we said so and we have the power to do that. I am sick and tired of giving people power who won’t us it. Adam Clayton Powell said ‘Use what’s in your hand.’ You are going to have power in your hand and give it back to the power structure that is oppressing you. That is insane.
The Freedom Party is going to be talking about Black consciousness on behalf of Steve Biko and the Black consciousness movement. Blackness is definitely not a skin complexion. Pigmentation. It is not whether you have coarse hair or thick lips or African features. Blackness is a state of mind. Blackness is a commitment to Black people. Blackness is a commitment to our children. Blackness is being a man. That is what we need – men and women who are not afraid to be black. It is an agenda. It is about who we are in our community.
When we put the Freedom Party together, anybody who is not serious about our people, don’t mess with us. Because we are not playing.
We are going to rock this state. This state is going to be put on notice that from here on, the 2 million Black people in NYC, and the millions across the state now have a Freedom Party that is going to free us from all of those things that we were fearful of. Now it is coming to fruition. Freedom Party!!!”
We have to do this for Shirley Chisholm. Rosa Parks. Assata Shakur. We have to do this for all those who spilled blood before we got here. Let’s do this. Freedom Party!!!
By unanimous acclimation, Charles Barron was declared the Freedom Party’s candidate for governor.
The temporary headquarters of the Freedom Party is located at Sistas’Place on the corner of Nostrand and Jefferson Avenues. More pictures on page 12.