An open letter to Gov. David Paterson:
I am among those who thought that former Gov. Eliot Spitzer was unfit for any office where the concern for human dignity for African-Americans was needed. I know of several instances where Spitzer's direct actions had impacts on the African-American community in destructive and undeserved ways.
When he was elected, many in the black community did not rejoice. The rejoicing came later — not because of his downfall, but because you were there to step in.
Your ascension to the office of governor was providential because it came at a time when this country was turning a corner, leading toward justice. You have already established that you can and will make hard decisions. Your ability to mend fences and work collectively with your colleagues is being praised across the board. I add my praise and appreciation of your first 100 days in office.
As you know, to those to whom much is given, much is expected. The staggering wealth centered in New York City and state remains in the hands of a few. Lagging behind in housing, education and economics are black people who have historically been disenfranchised and marginalized.
You are now in a position to challenge and change many of these conditions. I urge you to give consideration and effort to establishing and re-establishing institutions that work to bring the dignity of decent affordable housing, economic development and improved educational outcomes for Black people living in this state.
I urge you to use your power and influence to reestablish New York City's most successful black self-help institution, Black United Fund NY. This institution was destroyed by Spitzer at a time when it was putting Harlem's citizens in affordable housing and demonstrating the power of self-help. Bootstraps were being pulled up in Harlem, not costing the city or state a penny.
Although BUFNY administrators were never accused of any crime, it was shut down. Today, with gentrification pushing blacks out of Harlem, BUFNY is needed now more than ever.
Additionally, recently retired state Vice Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Adelaide Sanford, an expert in the field of education, is ignored as performances in city urban public schools plummet, contrary to what city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is saying. Her vast experience is being ignored. I suggest that Sanford would be an excellent adviser to you on matters of education.
You have already made history. You are already a source of pride to the people of New York and beyond.
Betty J. Dopson
©2008 Community News Group
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