Why Progressive Choice Radio Ads Are Needed

By: Leslie Wimes | Posted: July 12, 2014 12:30 PM
Leslie Wimes

Leslie Wimes

As we near the anniversary of the verdict that set free George Zimmerman -- the man who stalked, shot, and killed Trayvon Martin -- race again comes into play here in Florida.

Progressive Choice, a 501(c)4 PAC, has recently begun running ads talking about what a lot of people do not want to discuss:


I want to talk about race.

I want to talk about how our laws have had disproportionately negative results that affected our community. No one ever wants to talk about the real problems in our community, and now that these ads are calling in to question what African-Americans have complained about for quite some time, people are crying foul.

Why is it foul to put these serious issues out for discussion?

Foul is the fact that as an African-American in Florida, I run a greater risk of being killed, jailed, or harassed, simply because of the color of my skin.

Is anyone really going to argue that African-Americans don’t go to jail for nonviolent crimes on a larger scale than other groups? I hope not, because then they are really not being honest.

Is anyone going to argue that Marissa Alexander, who fired a warning shot and ended up with a 20-year sentence, which State Attorney Angela Corey wants to turn into 60 years, was afforded the same right to “stand her ground” as George Zimmerman? I hope not, because again, they would not be being honest with themselves, or us.

What about Jordan Davis? He was killed by Michael Dunn, and yet Michael Dunn was convicted, not of killing Davis, but of attempting to kill the other three boys who survived. Does that mean if Dunn had killed the other three, leaving no witnesses, he would be walking free like George Zimmerman?

Charlie Crist - Chain Gang Charlie

When a person can brag about being awarded a nickname such as “Chain Gang Charlie,” and not be called on the carpet for it because he has decided to run for office in a different party, there is a problem.

From The Orlando Sentinel:

"Crist did sponsor a bill in 1995 to bring back chain gangs in Florida’s prison system, which then-House Speaker Peter Wallace, D-St. Petersburg, said at the time brought back images of slavery. The maneuver drew national media attention and earned Crist the nickname “Chain-Gang Charlie,” which he often bragged about during his 2006 gubernatorial primary."

Are African-Americans supposed to quietly sit by and let elected officials do and say whatever they want? Are we always supposed to be seen via our votes, but not heard concerning the injustices perpetrated against us?

Take a look at how President Obama is treated. Has any president ever been so disrespected, mainly because of his race?

I want our community to hold these people accountable for their records, their rhetoric, and the way they have treated us.

When we accept mistreatment, lies, and crumbs, that’s exactly what we will get: mistreatment, lies, and crumbs.

It’s past time to talk about race. It’s past time to talk about the records of politicians. It’s past time to hold those who are in office, and those who want to be in office, accountable.

As an African-American woman who has seen things like the recent beating of an African-American woman on a highway in California, I am glad that Progressive Choice has put the issue of race-related injustices on the doorstep of this state.

While people are calling the radio ads “racially charged”, and paid for by “shadow organizations,” as an African-American woman who is a Democrat, I say the ads aren’t saying anything I haven’t said, and haven’t heard said by other African-Americans.

Instead of focusing on the message, people are focusing on the messenger, because the message is too difficult for them to accept.

While Politifact said Crist wasn’t the only one to implement harsher laws that affect our community, the message in the ads is based on fact.

I personally don’t care who did it, or why. I do care about the fact that the message has validity and it affects my community.

If you recall, I wrote a similar article long before these ads started running: See "How Can any Minority Vote For Charlie Crist Knowing This?"

I’ve also discussed the subject in "Democratic Party Leaders Taking The African-American Vote For Granted."

We need to hold elected officials accountable. We need to hear where they stand before we cast a vote, not after. It’s when we wait until after, that we get the Trayvon Martins, Jordan Davises, and Marissa Alexanders here in Florida.

We need to discuss it more, and before these people get either elected or re-elected.

We need dialogue. We need debate, We need to hear from the candidates exactly why we should use our political power, and we do have political power whether some want to admit it or not, to give them what they want, when we continually get nothing.

We need money. Money for our communities, money for our schools, money for our youth programs, money for libraries, money to allow us to compete on the same scale as other communities.

We need money to put more African-Americans on the ballot, as well.

I know it’s painful to discuss.

It’s even more painful to bury a loved one, visit a loved one in prison, or not be able to feed a loved one.

These things are directly tied to our elected officials, and they need to answer for their records, past, current, and future.

Our elected officials need to stop taking our votes for granted.

Let’s make sure they do.

Leslie Wimes is a registered nurse who was working in cardiovascular intensive care until she decided to form "Women On The Move," a South Florida-based networking group that promotes positivity in professional and personal areas. Her website of the same name and progressive but independent columns have thousands of readers not only in Florida but across the nation. This column is reprinted from the site with the author's permission.

Comments (5)

Ivan Durakov
9:33PM JUL 15TH 2014
If you don't want to be taken for granted then stop voting Demshevik and vote for the issues that you claim to embrace. Since Kennedy the black community has done nothing but eat crumbs from the Demshevik table. You've collectively prostituted yourselves for a little lip service and just enough money to keep you needing more. Lyndon Johnson was right. And so was P.T. Barnum. And it is very sad. But you merely suffer the consequences of your own willful actions.
H.E. "Pete" Ashley
3:03PM JUL 15TH 2014
Sounds like she would keep them on the Government Plantation.
4:06PM JUL 14TH 2014
"As we near the anniversary of the verdict that set free George Zimmerman -- the man who stalked, shot, and killed Trayvon Martin -- race again comes into play here in Florida."

And if Martin had just gone back to his dad's house, if he hadn't sucker punched Zimmerman, and then proceed to beat the crap out him, he would be alive today and in jail for assault and battery. Thank goodness Z was armed and able to defend himself from that punk kid.

From the Homeland Security website:
Homeland Security Begins with Hometown Security

If you see something suspicious taking place then report that behavior or activity to local law enforcement or in the case of emergency call 9-1-1. Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. For that reason, the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity. Only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.

DHS is working to expand “If You See Something, Say Something ™” throughout the country by partnering with a variety of entities including: transportation systems, universities, states, cities, sports leagues and local law enforcement. If you’re interested in getting your group involved please contact 202-282-8010.
Bill R.
2:11PM JUL 14TH 2014
"Why is it foul to put these serious issues out for discussion?"

Because, Ms. Wimes, your "community," which happens to be mine as well, doesn't want dialogue, debate or discussion. It wants to dictate the terms of societal rules and relations. While we remain a society that promulgates its rules from and relies on superficial references like race and so long as there is profit in making those references, there will be discord.

But of course, you already knew that.

I'd be interested, though, in your description of those conditions that must exist in order for our society and nation to be finally racially equal.
Pete J
10:17AM JUL 14TH 2014
My opinion is: When I hear the term African-American used, I think the person using it is a racist with a chip on their shoulder. If we were legally born in America or legally naturalized we are Americans. Not Africans. If someone uses the term British-American, they don't mean white. If a person uses the term African-American they mean BLACK, and don't you forget it! Those people using the combo origin are tying to jam racial protection for themselves down others' throats; and I don't like it. And, if the jammer is Negro, anyone complaining, especially white, is labeled a racist. All this political correctness is false, wrong, and evil unto itself. Drop the use of African-American; we'll all be better off.

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