I’m in Dallas this morning and I’m about to catch a flight to go speak at the University of Connecticut School of Law for the Black Law Student’s Association.
But I wanna tell you why I’m in Dallas and why I’ll likely be coming to your city soon.
Last week I announced on air that I was launching something called the Real Justice PAC. PAC stands for Political Action Committee. And the Real Justice PAC is one of the only political organizations in the entire country focused on how we can change the criminal justice system from the inside out. We are particularly going to focus on making sure that your city has a district attorney that only looks like you, because right now, out of the 2,400 DA’s in America, they are 95% white, and 81% male, and overwhelmingly conservative, we are going to make sure we elect District Attorneys who see their primary goal as ending mass incarceration.
If you don’t mind, I have to get a little nerdy for a minute.
I hope I can do justice to what I am about to attempt to explain.
America’s tax laws are putting up a thick barrier, a force field if you will, that is effectively preventing the most capable advocates for criminal justice reform from telling the full truth about the problems of the system, and who can solve those problems.
Over the past three months, as I’ve prepared to make this announcement today, I’ve come face to face with this dozens of times.
At last count, we have over 70,000 black churches in America. The leaders of those churches, because of various tax laws, are not allowed to use their buildings or pulpits for explicit political endorsements.
So, we have 2,400 District Attorneys in power, with 70,000+ pastors who cannot freely campaign for alternatives.
It goes much deeper than that.
Because of tax laws governing charities, including almost every single civil rights organization you’ve ever heard of, including the NAACP, the Urban League, the ACLU, and others, those organizations are not allowed to endorse political candidates or use their resources in political campaigns of any kind.
That includes most fraternities and sororities. It even includes hardcore justice organizations that do amazing work, but would lose their non-profit status if they actually endorsed a political candidate.
It includes pretty all school and colleges as well.
Think for a moment about the traditional seats of black power and influence in America. Our teachers, preachers, pastors, non-profit and civic leaders basically have their hands tied.
So guess what they say when it comes time to vote?
That’s about it. If they say much more than that, it could truly jam them up legally.
Can I be frank?
“Go vote” is not enough. And the proof is the very system itself.
If “go vote” was enough, our 2,400 prosecutors would look and feel and act very differently.
If “go vote” was enough, Republicans would not control the House, Senate, Presidency, Supreme Court, and the majority of governorships and state legislatures right now.
What I am about to say pains me. I am not pointing at you. I am owning it.
We got where we are right now because we’ve been out-organized.
People who mean us great harm are in power right now because they have out-organized us.
Yes, they’ve often gerrymandered their way into success, but even that was them out-organizing us.
Yes, they’ve often enacted laws and policies on who can and cannot vote, but that is simply another expression of them out-organizing us.
When the primary people who have influence and power in our communities are not even really allowed to educate you on who to vote for and against, we’re in trouble.
This is the root of why I have decided to shift all of my organizing energy and efforts into launching the Real Justice PAC and getting involved in cities all across America to change the justice system in those cities from the inside out.
We are completely and totally unrestricted. 99% of the other groups and organizations, because of those of their tax status, either cannot get involved at all in the work we are about to do, or have great restrictions on just how much they can say or do.
And we chose the City of Dallas as the first place we are going to get to work. Since Donald Trump was elected you’ve probably heard about how we have to get ready for the mid-term elections. Well guess what, in Dallas, the primaries for those elections are in less than 2 weeks, and early voting has already started here.
Those mid-terms are right now, and we are here to help people flip the local DA’s race from Republican to Democrat by electing an amazing Black woman, Elizabeth Frizell, as the new DA here in Dallas.
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Shaun King: The Importance Of Organizing For Success was originally published on blackamericaweb.com