We Cannot Afford Another 100 Days of Trump Without An Action Plan – By Rev. Al Sharpton

This article is written by Rev. Al Sharpton.

As we approach President Trump’s 100th day in office, many pundits and commentators are reviewing what he has not accomplished – and rightfully so. Whether it was his promise to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it, tax reform, getting a repeal and replace health care bill to the floor and more, Trump outlined his own agenda for the first 100 days but has clearly failed to deliver.

What we have seen instead is his Justice Department withdraw from a lawsuit in Texas on voter ID, announce an end to moving forward on police reform and an undermining of consent decrees. We have also witnessed increased immigration raids, threats to cut funding to sanctuary cities and the spreading of fear within immigrant communities.

Trump outlined his own agenda for the first 100 days but has clearly failed to deliver.

We will develop our own plan of action to protect voting rights, civil rights, police reform and other issues of grave concern. And we have observed gender inequality, Islamophobia, stereotyping, racial inferences and very clear ways of marginalizing certain groups of people. That is why civil rights and social justice leaders, elected officials and faith leaders are converging in New York City under the leadership of my organization, National Action Network (NAN), for the first national gathering of its kind during this new Administration.

On Wednesday, April 26, we will kick things off at NAN’s annual convention with none other than former Attorney General Eric Holder, followed by DNC Chair Tom Perez addressing delegates, activists, clergy, students and others from around the nation that will all convene with us over the course of the next few days.

From Bernie Sanders, Gov. Cuomo, Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee, MC Lyte and Hill Harper to Mary Frances Berry, Van Jones, Shaun King, Joy Reid, Angela Rye, Michael Eric Dyson and many more, we will hear from some of the greatest minds of our time and those leading by example. We are determined not to sit back and watch the erosion of things we have personally and actively fought for.

We will develop our own plan of action to protect voting rights, civil rights, police reform and other issues of grave concern, and we will hit the ground running with our own 100-day strategy to do so.

We will develop our own plan of action to protect voting rights, civil rights, police reform and other issues of grave concern.

Those generations that proceeded us paid a high price so that we could obtain certain rights and opportunities, and we must ensure the same – and more – for future generations. We must organize from the local community level all the way to Congressional races and for the Presidential election itself. We must have media campaigns, economic withdrawals and press our elected officials to do the right thing.

In short, we must use everything at our disposal to resist. While Trump is able to guide public attention away from some egregious things taking place that impact underprivileged black and latino communities, the details are clear from the actions of Attorney General Sessions, Education Secretary DeVos and others in his Administration. We must operate now.

This Administration has declared war on crime when violent crime continues to decline. Sessions ordered a review of consent decrees (that those police departments are actually in favor of), and his actions are halting reform that all sides agree is desperately needed in order to improve police and community relations. We have always been pro-police but anti-police brutality; the distinction is significant. The current Justice Department is also actively allowing laws to proceed that blatantly disenfranchise the votes of people of color, the poor and the elderly ― that is frightening at best. We can defeat Trump and his Administration’s attempts; we did it before with grassroots planning and mobilization as witnessed by the pushback against his Muslim travel ban and their attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It is up to us to remain vigilant.

We will mark the first 100 days by energizing ourselves.

Some will mark Trump’s 100 days by measuring it and what he has or has not accomplished. We will mark the first 100 days by energizing ourselves. This Administration has hidden our pain, but we must not stifle or mute our voices.

As we gather for NAN’s convention, people from all corners of the country, the young, the elderly and from diverse backgrounds will all collectively organize for our future. One filled with increased equality, justice and opportunity. While they may try to reverse progress and turn back the clock, we march forward. As we near the 100th day of Trump in office, we renew our commitment towards organizing and civil rights for all.

 

Reverend Al Sharpton is the President of the National Action Network (NAN) and one of America’s most-renowned civil rights leaders. Whether it was his noteworthy run for President of the United States in 2004 or his use of passive resistance and non-violent civil disobedience, Rev. Sharpton has had an irrefutable impact on national politics because of his strong commitment to equality and progressive politics. As the head of one of the most well-known civil rights organizations that has over forty chapters and affiliates across the United States, Rev. Sharpton has been applauded by both supporters and non-supporters for challenging the American political establishment to be inclusive to all people regardless of race, gender, class or beliefs. Ever since his surrogate father, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, told him, “you can’t set your sights on nothing little…you got to go for the whole hog,” Rev. Sharpton has been doing just that. He was born on October 3, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, and began his ministry at the unusually early age of four. He preached his first sermon at that age at Washington Temple Church of God & Christ in Brooklyn where he was licensed by the legendary Bishop F. D. Washington at age nine to be a minister in that denomination. He likewise started his civil rights career very young. At age 13, he was appointed, by Reverends Jesse Jackson and William Jones, the youth director of New York’s SCLC Operation Breadbasket (founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). At age 16, Sharpton founded the National Youth Movement Inc. which organized young people around the country promoting voter registration, cultural awareness and job training programs. Rev. Sharpton was educated in public schools in New York and attended Brooklyn College. He was later presented with an honorary degree from A.P. Clay Bible College. In 1991, Sharpton founded the National Action Network a broad-based, progressive civil rights organization which he still heads. From 1994 to 1998, Rev. Sharpton served as Director of the Ministers Division for the National Rainbow Push Coalition under Rev. Jesse Jackson while still serving as the head of NAN. Upon the death of Bishop Washington in the late 80s, Rev. Sharpton became a Baptist, and in 1994, he was re-baptized as a member of the Bethany Baptist Church by Rev. William Jones. Rev. Sharpton has rejuvenated the Civil Rights movement while raising the bar for political participation for people of color. In 1999, when a young unarmed African immigrant was gunned down in the vestibule of his home by four New York City police officers, Sharpton led 1,200 people in the civil disobedience protest arrest. The throngs that followed him to jail in this protest included former mayors, congressman and religious and community leaders across racial, ethnic and political lines. Rev. Sharpton’s platforms against racial profiling and police brutality has reached an international audience, and his work on human rights issues has taken him to Sudan, Israel, Europe and further, where he has formed alliances with international peace activists across the world. But perhaps his most significant international visit was his sojourn to Vieques, Puerto Rico in 2001. Sharpton and three Latino elected officials from New York visited Vieques to protest the U.S. Naval bombing exercises on the island, a practice that has endured for over 60 years. After visiting with hundreds of Puerto Rican citizens who have suffered physical and mental infirmities as a result of the bombing exercises, Sharpton and the other members of the “Vieques Four” led the protest at the U.S. Naval Base in Puerto Rico. They were subsequently arrested, tried several weeks later and sentenced to 40 to 90 days – Sharpton received the longest sentence – in federal prison for their protests. While Sharpton was in jail, he fasted, losing eighty pounds, and even managing to influence the local mayoral election. Because of the stand that the “Vieques Four” took that summer, President George W. Bush addressed the issue and ordered the Navy to end their exercises in 2003. Rev. Sharpton is a member of Bethany Baptist Church in his native Brooklyn neighborhood where the late William A. Jones, Jr., was the Pastor. Rev. Sharpton still preaches throughout the United States and abroad on most Sunday’s, and averages eighty formal sermons a year. Rev. Sharpton says his religious convictions are the basis for his life. In addition to continuing to run NAN, Rev. Sharpton hosts a talk show on Syndication One that broadcasts in 40 markets, five days a week, and he hosts “Sharptalk” on TV One– a national cable show based in a barber shop setting. Rev. Al and Kathy Jordan Sharpton have two daughters, Dominique and Ashley.

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