OTP: What were you doing this morning Floyd?
Floyd Davis: I was at 125th and 145th Street, on the Eighth Avenue line subway platforms passing out literature. People are starting to recognize Mary’s name is out there. They have very positive responses. We let them know she’s an African American woman running for governor. When I say that and give them literature back it up, people always look interested. So that’s what I’m doing when I have free time. I think it’s important to get her name out there.
OTP: What else would you be doing or have other volunteers doing?
FD: What we’ve organized is the “Neighborhood Friends of Mary France”. These are people who want to work in the campaign and preferably in their neighborhoods. They form neighborhood groups and they do leaf-letting and get engagements for her at churches or other sites in the community. We also have “Chat and Chews” which we use for fund-raising. We have people over and talk about the campaign and the Unity Party. That’s really the bigger design of what we’re doing. Break it down into a community level and get the word spread that way.
OTP: You’re out of Harlem?
FD: The upper west side, but I did most of my work in Harlem because most of the people who we are going to get are from Harlem and parts of the Bronx. That’s where I got the bulk of my signatures during the petitioning process. Without those areas I doubt that we would have gotten as much as we did.
OTP: What do you see as the importance of this campaign in the African American experience?
FD: The importance I see in this particular campaign, is the fact it’s come out of the grassroots. I’ve been involved in other campaigns but I’ve not been involved in one like this, where we just have ordinary folk, out there trying to accomplish something, really on little more than just guts. No money. But just determination and grit to get something done. We know there is a groundswell of sentiment out there but there’s no one who’s tapping into it. That’s the greatest importance of this campaign. It gives people a choice.
OTP: How much money did the campaign spend getting those 20,500 signatures to get on the November ballot?
FD: We figured that we spent about $3,000.
OTP: $3,000. That’s good to know, and you got 20,500 signatures?
FD: Yes. That’s right.
OTP: That’s a lot of hard work. You must really want this thing to work.
FD: It’s why I get up in the morning and get out. Its’ going to come down to getting the name out there and letting people know what it’s about. I felt the same way about the signatures, I was up every day. Out there. It doesn’t work any other way. You’ve got to do it, just hit the streets.
OTP: You have to work to make it happen?
FD: That’s right. A lot of folks talk about it.
OTP: Could you speak on that aspect for a moment because I see more folks talking about it than actually working.
FD: Well you can’t judge people too harshly. I think that people, even though they know that they want something different, they’re not always sure of how to go about doing it.
OTP: I see. Of course you’re right.
FD: When we get together and talk, we give them that structure. Give them something to enable them to go out and do something. Go out and make something real happen. That’s why people get so enthusiastic when they realize they’ve found something they can latch onto. You have to know how to do certain things. You have to know what to do, who to talk to. This just isn’t common knowledge. I think that’s why many people get frustrated because they don’t know how to do it. For those who want to help all they have to do is call the office to find the coordinator in their borough, or come down to Dynamics of Leadership at 26 Court Street in Brooklyn, any Wednesday at 6:30pm.
(Note: The office number is 718 624-7941.)