“I come to you on the first day of Women’s History Month” began Tulani Kinard. “I come to you in the spirit of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer. In the spirit of Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Odetta and Mahalia Jackson. I come to you in the spirit of Brooklyn’s finest, Shirley Chisholm, Jeanette Gadson, Barbara Smith Boyd and Tohma Faulkner. And I come in the spirit of Madam C.J. Walker. I come to declare my candidacy for the 41st Council District in Brooklyn.”
Mrs. Kinard’s biography at www.tulanikinard.com, reveals a self-starting, community-spirited person who is best-known for both her work in the Natural is Beautiful movement, where she was a national voice for the natural hair care industry – It was her work and advocacy which led to the New York State law governing the natural hair care license, the first in the nation— and as a performer with the world renown a capella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock.
“My life’s work as a parent, author, performing artist, business owner, cultural custodian and minister, has developed the leadership skills required to do the job of a city councilperson,” said Ms. Kinard.
In her supporting remarks, Esmeralda Simmons commented on the state of the schools in the district, saying “There is not a single high school in the 41st district, and there has been an increase in the high school dropout rate in the district,” as well. Speaking on education issues, Ms. Kinard insisted that “It’s criminal that we don’t have a Black curriculum set in place in the schools. I believe there is a relationship between cultural values, low self-esteem and the level of gang violence permeating our community.” The violence is so pervasive says Kinard, that both seniors and young people speak of safety as a primary concern. “Much of the violence is created by a troubled youth population, many of whom have dropped out of school because they’ve lost all hope in a system that promises them an education but does not work,” adding that parents should “have a say in the education of their children,” and that schools should be open longer.
Saying her goal as Councilperson would be “to educate, employ and empower,” Mrs. Kinard stressed the importance for “our community to go green as an environmental and developmental strategy,” particularly in light of the financial stimulus package of Barack Obama.
After recently attending a Washington, D.C. conference on the environment, Mrs. Kinard said she came away realizing that “Our community is far behind in preparing for the jobs and business opportunities that are coming forward in the next few years,” and she says she intends to “bring greater public awareness about the new green economy.”
Mrs. Kinard was standing in front of City Hall with a group of supporters that included her husband, educator and Our Time Press columnist Stanley Kinard, Assemblywoman Inez Barron and her husband Councilman Charles Barron, Attorney Michael Tariq Warren, Esmeralda Simmons, Director Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College; A.T. Mitchell, of Hip Hop SUV; Reverend Conrad Tillard, Nazerene Congressional Church, Joy Simmons, and Brenda Walker, Co-Founders of Operation Power; and others.
The current officeholder in the 41st Council District, is Darlene Mealy who sits on the following Committees: Civil Rights, Immigration, Juvenile Justice, Small Business, Transportation, Women’s Issues and Youth Services. The District covers parts of Bedford Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill-Brownsville and East Flatbush.