WATCH: Black Grassroots Activist Calls Out Democrats, Mayor Rahm Emanuel


“When I walk outside my door, there’s nothing a Democrat has done—African American or white or Hispanic—has done for me and my community.”

That’s the sentiment of one Chicago black activist and mother, speaking exclusively to Breitbart News outside Chicago’s City Hall on Saturday.

The occasion was a small memorial for Laquan McDonald, who was killed by a Chicago police officer 13 months ago, as well as for Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old whose death made national headlines. Including this article at Breitbart News.

Democrat-run Chicago was become infamous for its inner-city murder rate, where black-on-black crime takes the lives of black youth week in and week out. The website DNAInfo lists the Chicago murder toll for 2015 at a grim 427 lives lost.

Breitbart News spoke to several memorial attendees, including Tio Hardiman, a Chicago anti-violence activist who said he was concerned about both excessive use of force by the police and black on black crime. Hardiman also made it clear he is not anti-police.

Then, Breitbart News spoke to Zerlina Smith, a grassroots activist who had run for Alderman and was endorsed by the International Socialist Organization-Chicago. Our interview with Smith was briefly blocked by a man who asked, “You ain’t gonna spin what she’s saying?” After being assured we would run her interview in full, we continued.

Although she’s on a political left, Smith feels betrayed by the Democrats who run the city, telling Breitbart News, “For the first time since I’ve been able to vote—I’m 38 years old—I chose not to vote because I felt there was not a candidate on the ballot who I thought was truly going to represent the people.”

Smith’s comments show the disconnect that some black voters see between the rhetoric of the Democrats and their results. When establishment Republicans fail to even show up and try to make the case that smaller government, less dependency, and traditional values would be the best solution to the problems of the inner city black community, many grassroots black political activists head further to the left to find solutions.

Many protestors at Black Friday’s Michigan Avenue shutdown were angry at Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Smith, who was part of the protest, is no exception, telling Breitbart News, “Our mayor has lied one too many times to the people of Chicago and it’s time for him to step down” and criticizing the Democrat Emanuel saying, “If he wants to really be a leader, he need to take control and start cleaning up his mess internally and shoveling his shit out.”

Smith agreed with the assessment that there is a rift between traditional black activists and high-profile Democrat establishment Black Friday protest participants like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressman Bobby Rush, Danny Davis and the grassroots black community.

“Don’t come out and use the death of our children,” Smith said of the Democrats in Chicago, a city storied for its corruption. “You have elected officials who have the power to bring about change in our community. They’re on the take.”

Smith finished with a blunt take on the Democrats. “Our elected officials are puppets, and they do what they’re told told because they have a dollar amount and an X on their back by the Mayor, by the Governor, by whomever that they can be bought by.”

The anger and frustration of many black residents of Chicago is real. The solutions will not be coming from the Democrat party, and until Republicans become successful at educating urban voters on the benefits of freedom and less government interference, the problems will continue.

Follow Breitbart News investigative reporter and Citizen Journalism School founder Lee Stranahan on Twitter at @Stranahan.


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