"Right on!" a spectator yells.

"Diversify the artwork at city hall, because when our children come here, when black and Latino children come here, they should see images of their heroes as well."

A smattering of applause. All eyes are now on Barron.

"As I depart, I will leave you with a better half," he says. "You think I was something — when she finishes with you, you're gonna ask me to come back! I'm sure that Governor Cuomo and [Assembly Speaker] Shelly Silver can't wait till I get to Albany. I'll try not to disappoint them and get there as soon as I can."

Just how soon he gets there is in Cuomo's hands. If the governor calls for a special election, a Barron victory is guaranteed: Brooklyn's Democratic Committee selects the nominee in a special election, and nearly every member representing the 42nd District is a Barron ally. Charles and Inez serve as the party's two district leaders.

But if Cuomo slates the race for the normal election cycle, leaving the seat vacant through the end of the year, Barron will have to get past Banks in the primary. That's no sure thing. Banks has already secured the endorsement of Hakeem Jeffries, who vanquished Barron en route to Congress.

"Finally, I wanna leave y'all with something special," Barron says. "I have written a pledge for you that you can use to replace the pledge here."

Nervous giggles and chatter sweep the room.

"Ready? Repeat after me. I pledge allegiance . . ."

Few voices speak up.

"Look at you, you scared! You can't even play with me. Y'all are scared! I pledge allegiance to rid this nation of racism, sexism, classism."

The crowd echoes the line.

"And all forms of discrimination for which this nation stands."

Just laughs this time.

"I pledge to fight for the eradication of poverty."

Everyone proudly recites.

"And equitable distribution of wealth, income, and opportunity."

Laughs.

"Finally," he says, allowing the buzz to die down. "I pledge to unite this nation under human rights until there's liberty and justice for all."

The ovation begins before he finishes.

asamaha@villagevoice.com

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5 comments
Mary
Mary

I miss Charles Barron! He was fun! I loved seeing and listening to him speak during the rallies/protests against Bloomberg's failed educational policies.   I told him once that it was on my bucket list to get arrested with him for civil disobedience while protesting the closing of NYC public schools.  Luckily that won't be necessary now that we have a new Mayor and Chancellor.

I didn't agree with everything he said or everything he believes in, but he was always true to himself and I respect that.  Oh, and not that it matters but I'm probably not the typical Charles Barron fan,  I'm a 50 year old white woman. 

Jerome
Jerome

Following the footsteps of Frank Lucas. 

The Voice neglected to report that.

Where's the investigative journalism. 

cybergrace
cybergrace

Thank you, Village Voice, for reporting on the many under-published good works of Charles Barron and amplifying the voices of New Yorkers of color. 


Charles Barron is extremely hard working and excellent at working with community coalitions of all races. He has consistently supported actual help for New Yorkers living with HIV and New Yorkers fighting fracking when other politicians only offered lip service. This is why he actually brings a LOT more money to home to his district, even with his blunt speaking.


Significantly this article leaves out the tremendous problem of graft and selfish criminality by a large percentage of New York elected officials. That Christine Quinn's presentation of grants to council members she "liked" (overwhelmingly to white-led nonprofits "helping" people of color) was presented as "business as usual" -- but is was really racism. It is byzantine that in the 21st century so much money is allocated through white-dominated friendship networks instead of need-based competitive, professional proposals and grants.


New York State has had a glut of politicians convicted of bribery and other charges last year. The outspokenly un-bribable Charles Barron moving to the Assembly will be a boost to ethics in Albany. And while Christine Quinn et. al. may continue to maneuver discretionary appropriations to white-led members of the city's nonprofit industrial complex, Inez Barron will continue the good fight in the City Council to a transparent, professional, anti-racist allocations process.

hkguy
hkguy

At the end of this long story, I was left with the same question as when I started: Why is the Voice dedicating so much space to a woman who has passed no significant legislation and is widely considered a nonstarter, and a buffoon whom other councilmembers at best ignore? 

 
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