Earlier this month, Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner announced a slate of handpicked delegates designated to represent the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. That slate included Common Council member Darius Pridgen and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, two African American leaders from Buffalo’s badly neglected East Side.
Those community leaders are now facing intense political backlash.
President Bill Clinton has long touted his passage of the ‘Clinton Crime Bill’ that targeted poor urban Black youth for excessive law enforcement, leading to staggering rates of incarceration that decimated countless Black families.
He also passed a repeal of Glass-Steagell, which deregulated the banks, allowing for the predatory lending practices that victimized the Black community and, along with other unseemly practices, contributed to the 2008 collapse of the American financial markets.
As a United States Senator, Hillary Clinton largely ignored Buffalo’s Black community, which became poorer during her tenure on almost every indicator: jobs, wages, homeownership, health, and quality of life. Over eight years in office, Clinton failed to deliver a single substantive spending earmark for the East Side.
Some observers say that Pridgen and Peoples-Stokes have been put in an unfair position, being pressured to offer a song and dance on behalf of Clinton’s candidacy despite her mistreatment of the constituency.
“It is a noble thing to sacrifice yourself for someone else,” says Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, the Chairwoman of Young Black Democrats of Western New York and the region’s highest profile advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Martin-Bordeaux has endorsed Sanders for President.
“It is unfair that we would allow the media to keep telling Black people who we are going to vote for,” she says of Clinton’s longstanding claim to have the African American vote locked down. “It’s deeply disrespectful, and that she doesn’t understand that is telling.”