There are going to be a lot of issues on the table in the 2013 legislative session, and this columnist is going to be involved in and writing about issues that have a direct impact on the Black community.
With regards to the issue of felons’ right to vote in Minnesota, Blacks are released back into our community and must have every opportunity to be successful after serving time for their crimes. However, this must be balanced with their ability to demonstrate a willingness to live within the laws of the state of Minnesota and not victimize citizens in and/or outside the community.
Considering the above paragraph, this columnist sent the following letter to Rep. Steve Simon (appointed to chair the committee dealing with this issue) and to Rep. Rena Moran:
“Rep. Steve Simon, House members,
“My position is that felons must remain law abiding for three years before being eligible to vote, meaning no parole violations or no crimes meeting the level of a felony and/or repeated misdemeanor violations, in reality, any act that is considered a violation of parole and standards set upon release. I do not see a need for anyone not being able to vote while on parole for five years or more.
“Three years of no violations is fine with me. This allows a person really moving in the right direction to become a productive citizen in our democracy. This position brings balance.
“As a former correctional officer at Stillwater prison and working with released offenders today in my community, this brings a reasonable solution that both parties must agree with. I am willing to testify to this reasonable solution.”
Gay marriage is likely to be on the table this 2012 session also. I believe in and will continue to support marriage between a man and woman. Why? Because we need to strengthen the Black family system that continues to be in a struggle for survival from the evil ramifications of slavery.
Black families were sold and separated. To add further destruction, Black families during the Civil Rights Movement were often separated by the power of social services and the courts. And Black children were forced to live in government-managed homes with families knowing little about Black children or their culture.
Today, we see a large number of Black children being raised by people other than their actual parents. As Black people, we must maintain a strong focus on the Black family structure because we cannot afford the risk of not doing so moving into the future, which is already designed to push Black people into substandard citizenship.
I will advocate for the empowerment and improved quality of life for the Black family and gay marriage does not serve that purpose. We must also work to prevent discrimination against gays in the workplace and other areas of the Title VII 1964 Civil Rights Act. We can do so without supporting gay marriage because this is an issue of sexuality and not an issue of civil rights.
My readers, it does not matter if you agree with me or not. What I am trying to get you to understand is the need for — and your right to — petition government.
Like never before in the state of Minnesota, Black people need to have a stronger presence this legislative session, voicing our opinion and being active in the pursuit of influencing public policy. We do not have to wait on the Urban League, the Council on Black Minnesotans or any other entity.
From a parent, citizens, released felons, to the homeless person on the street, get involved and have your voice heard. Anyone want to join me?
Lucky Rosenbloom welcomes reader responses to 612-661-0923, or email him at l.rosenbloom@ya hoo.com.