Joseph Larios, who helped inspire Team Awesome about three years ago, says he chose to sign up as Robinson's campaign manager because Robinson had Rise on his side.

"They've earned respect because they've shown they could do the work and get people involved," Larios says of Rise volunteers.

Larios says there isn't bad blood between him and Tony Valdovino, a young man he brought into the fold in 2010 who's now working as a field director in Widland Gallego's campaign.

New Times photo Illustration
New Times photo Illustration
Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson
Social Eye Media
Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson

Indeed, this new generation of activists and organizers appears more tolerant of dissension than the old guard of black leaders grappling to hold on to at least a modicum of political power.

Consider that in January, the Black/Brown Coalition of Arizona met to, among other things, endorse a District 8 candidate.

When the young organizers — black, white, and brown — showed up for the meeting, they were met by a who's who of political heavyweights: community leader Norma Munoz, Councilman Johnson, attorney and activist Danny Ortega, state Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and husband Earl, Pastor Stewart, former Councilman Goode, and Carlos Garcia, head of the human rights organization Puente Movement.

Stewart was the coalition's clear choice from the start. The meeting took place in the basement of his South Phoenix church. And some of the same African-Americans who already had selected Stewart as the "consensus" candidate during the January closed-door meeting served with him on the B/BC board.

Robinson didn't stay long at the meeting because, he says, he had to work. One by one, his supporters stood up and expressed gratitude for the doors opened for minorities by the pastor, but they qualified their comments with their support for Robinson.

Some of the established black leaders then took their turns, verbally lashing the absent Robinson, outraged by what they saw as his betrayal of the community.

"They just bashed him," recalls Larios. "It was awful! They said he had no integrity — and how dare he decide to go against the black leadership's decision of who was going to run!"

Robinson's campaign volunteers stood in the church's parking lot after the meeting, shocked at the visceral display.

"We didn't think it was going to go in our favor, but we just wanted to be heard," Larios says, adding that he was disappointed because no one at the meeting even addressed Stewart's stance on gay rights and gay marriage.

The team lamented that despite all their organizing over the past three years, no one from the B/BC ever reached out to them about their opinions.

Larios, who (like Robinson) is gay, says he previously had sat down with Supervisor Wilcox and discussed the "awful" May 2012 letter that Stewart wrote in response to President Barack Obama's publicly supporting gay marriage.

"I was very disappointed in the president's statement in support of same-sex marriage," Stewart stated. "I believe his support of same-sex marriage goes against God's word and the laws of nature. I believe that supporters of same-sex marriage are contributing to the widespread dysfunction of marriage and family . . . and that the legalization of same-sex marriage will eventually lead to the legalization of polygamy."

Larios says it was an "offensive letter."

It never came up in a vetting of Stewart by the B/BC.

Wilcox did not return New Times' calls for comment.

"You talk about social justice, inclusiveness, and you're going to leave out an entire segment of our community?" Larios asks.

Gay rights doesn't have to be the most important issue, he says, but "if you're going to leave it out altogether, then I can't trust you to lead me."

In an effort to stifle the criticism, Stewart admits that he draws the line at gay marriage but says, "I have a history of standing up against injustice, I will continue to do that. Without a doubt! Look, I don't have horns, I'm not a devil, and I'm not out there as a right-wing fanatic."


Warren Stewart's finally refusing County Attorney Montgomery's endorsement demonstrates just how crucial the Latino vote is in District 8.

Stewart's team knows that it must get Latino voters on the pastor's side, and it's using the tactic of appealing to the brown community's sense of justice. Stewart's people argue that there must be diversity on the decision-making body that already has two Hispanic representatives in councilmen Nowakowski and Valenzuela.

Depending on the outcome of the election in neighboring District 4, which also has a majority Latino population, there could be an unprecedented third Latino elected to the council.

The Stewart campaign is pleading with Latino voters that a single black seat isn't too much to ask.

The odd thing — or so it seems if you don't consider the way church-based black leadership in Phoenix has operated historically — is that Stewart's campaign seems to dismiss the gay Robinson as even a black candidate.

Stewart's candidacy has the support of the Black/Brown Coalition, which includes the likes of established Latino leaders like Mary Rose Wilcox. But, beyond that, the brown community is splintered.

For instance, Nowakowski, whom blacks backed in 2007, isn't returning the favor and supporting a black candidate in District 8.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
27 comments
kanderssohn
kanderssohn

Very confusing article as far as keeping names straight. Page 10 introduces us to Lawrence Robinson as the adopted grandson of Phoenix's first black judge and recently elected member of the Roosevelt Elementary School District governing board. Then on page 12 Lawrence Robonson is identified as a gay professor at the Phoenix School of Law. A photo caption on the same page refers to Pastor Stewart Robinson as Councilman Michael Johnson's hand-picked successor. Then on page 22 at the top center of the page in orange font there is a reference to Pastor Warren Robinson. So we have a Lawrence Robinson, a Warren Stewart, a Stewart Robinson and a Warren Robinson. Nice proof-reading job by someone... 

gailross5555
gailross5555

The old divide and conquer along racial lines.  Come on people stand together as one, open your heart.  Hispanics have obviously been targeted but no one knows that better than blacks about targeting either.   Just as Martin Luther King said so eloquently  An Injustice for one is an injustice for all!!!  There is strength in unity of all people forget race --we are the 99% until they divide along racial lines then they stay on top with all their injustice and fraud.  Come together and peacefully non comply.  Stop the me me me and start the us us us us!!

aschmidt01
aschmidt01

Does a church loose its tax status, by endorsing a political movement?

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

I've been in numerous community meetings in South Phoenix - as a person of limited pigment, I am quite offended by the me, me, me I hear.  I've stopped going until I start to hear some US US US!  We're all in the same boat - building divides along skin color lines only helps the corporate masters which seek to exploit us in South Phoenix.  I have noticed there is not one shred of difference between the character of the individual because of skin color or language.  We need to stop this crap and start working together or we are going to get screwed individually.  For god's sake - we got a multi-racial President people - Let's Work Together!

taysearch
taysearch

I agree with Rev. Jarrett Maupin, II that the older generation of African Americans have not invested in youth leadership.  Very few people have put together programs for leadership development.  I believe we have depended on our schools too much and the school programs have not helped to develop young Black leaders.  That must come from the community.  It is not just pastors and elected officials who must lead.  We must all make ourselves responsible for developing young Black leadership.  This article has certainly been a wake up call to me.  I am supporting Pastor Warren Stewart, Sr.  I believe he is the best person to represent District 8.  I will also be supporting Black Youth Leadership Development.

patrickbrennan
patrickbrennan

As a resident of District 8, I found this article offensive on many fronts. I'd go into further detail here, but why be redundant? You can see what folks are saying, including me, on our south Phoenix FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SoPhxAZ

acg070776
acg070776

As a resident of District 8 for the past 4 years, yes, I've seen some improvements in development in the area, particularly in the 24th Street and Baseline intersection.  I'm not sure how much, if at all, Michael Johnson was involved in bringing that development to the area, but it's a good thing.  However, my biggest gripe with living in South Phoenix is the piss poor police response time.  I, as well as a few of my friends who live in the area, have either had our homes broken into or had attempted break-ins, and it consistently takes the police at least 30-45 minutes to respond to the calls from our alarm companies.  That is just not acceptable.  I haven't seen Michael Johnson do anything to address this, nor have I seen the problem get better.  I do, however, notice that Michael Johnson is partying every weekend either at the Legion or Michael's Cafe, so maybe that's more important to him at this point.  Although I appreciate Michael Johnson and the "old guard" for their efforts up to this point, it's time for them to step aside. 

phxsoul
phxsoul

Blacks are also losing power in Arizona because our "old guard" never thought to establish a pipeline for the younger generation to get interested in politics and then take over their seats. I respect our previous and current Black leaders but they have all dropped the ball in this regard.

leewah
leewah

1) Corey Woods, not Cory Woods.

2) Art Hamilton was elected at 24, not 25.  Because the age of eligibility to serve in the House was 25, he had to watch the first few weeks of his first session from the spectators' gallery before he could be sworn in.

3) One possible means of addressing the dilution of black representation on the council is to expand the number of council seats.  When the Phoenix city council was changed from at-large to an eight-district system in the early 1980s, the population of Phoenix was about 800,000; that's about 100,000 people per district.  As the population has almost doubled to about 1,500,000, the number of districts has remained eight.  There are now approximately 187,500 people per district, which is more people than the entire population of next-door Tempe.  Proponents of keeping city government close to the people, including leaders in the black community, can make a cogent argument for expanding the council to 16 seats.

don.dodondo
don.dodondo

Blacks are losing their political power all over the country because of the DNCs obsession on "Latino Issues".  First the Latinos were only taking their jobs, but now they are taking their political power as well.  Oh well, this is what they get for blindly voting democrat in every election.

Phoenician
Phoenician

@kanderssohn I know all those names and I can assure you that there aren't any proof reading mistakes. The #Phx8 race is really, really, complicated.

dogbiter
dogbiter

You're a boring detail, and obviously feel burned by this.

sarum
sarum

@ExpertShot Thank you.  Separate but equal did not work then and it will not work now in the reverse either.  Deliciously empowering as it is, it also serves as a box and makes those who holds those values very predictable and easily manipulated.  Admittledy it is a wondrous box.  Big enough to spend a lifetime lost in, but box - cage is what it is.

aschmidt01
aschmidt01

The me, them, comes directly from the Democrat party. Divide and hate, it comes from the head, down.

sarum
sarum

@taysearch Perhaps true but wherever you look even outside the black community you will find this same failure to bring up young leaders.  There is something more afoot here.  The educational points above combined with our mass marketed popular culture as well as a lazy mindedness  brought on by physical poisoning that most want to consider tin foil but is very real and has very real effects on brain function.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@taysearch They have to get past the "Pull up your damn britches, Son" part of the conversation and that usually is a buzz  kill right there!

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Offensive, why? The article was right on! The old guard is attempting to squeeze out anybody who doesn't kowtow to it. And what is this white woman doing posing as a Latino to get votes. We're on to you, lady! We all know what you're about Brennan. Mad because Alonzo didn't call you. Wake up and smell the coffee!

jimmie.munoz
jimmie.munoz

@acg070776I'm a supporter of Lawrence Robinson. I think you'd really like to hear about his stance on public safety issues.  Come meet Lawrence and talk to him in person this Saturday at 10am at 6645 S. Central Ave., Phx. 

patrickbrennan
patrickbrennan

@leewah I agree 100% that the council should be expanded vastly. 16 seats would be in keeping with historical ratios, but I'd settle for 12 at this point. Look at D6 as a visually obvious example of a district that makes very little sense. The others are also spread thin across diverse landscapes and communities. Our downtown, for instance -- an area that matters to us all -- hangs in the balance of a few council members who also must work on very different issues elsewhere. 

shirtless
shirtless

@don.dodondo A better explanation is that intelligent Democrats (yes, there are a few) and the rest of society are finally beginning to realize that blacks are generally a hopeless cause.  Despite decades of "affirmative action" and other special preferences, they are no further along than they were in the days of segregation, and in many cases, they are much worse off.  According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 69% of blacks are born out of wedlock (compared to 26% for whites), and while black women account for only 17% of live births, 36% of all abortions are performed on black women.  According to the Center for Disease Control, 44% of the people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are black.  According to the FBI, blacks, who are only 12% of the population, commit 38% of the homicides.  If there were no blacks in our population, our murder by handgun rate would fall to that of Finland, and gun control would be a moot issue.  One reason we do not notice the black crime problem is that much of it is black-on-black.  Black-on-white is next in prevalence.  White-on-black is relatively rare, so much so, that when it happens, it makes front-page headlines.

Blacks have ruined once-great cities, such as Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Memphis, Oakland, and others.  A group that has caused so many problems does not deserve, and should not expect, "political power."  Indeed, our society needs to wake up and get the black crime problem under control before it destroys our society.

sarum
sarum

IOW, many leaders can say that they found nobody coming along under them that was worthy of the time investment to train in leadership.  The same forces that are breaking apart families are also dividing communities.  But I also think that in some cases, the financial reward of retaining leadership is too enticing and then again, many of the choices these days are no-win situations.

taysearch
taysearch

@ExpertShot @taysearch I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but what I mean is give a group of youth a project to carry out.  Teach them Robert's Rules of Order, how to write an agenda, take minutes, and carry out an assessment of the project.  That's just an example of what can be done.

What is it that you mean?

patrickbrennan
patrickbrennan

@Dogbiter Please tell me what I'm all about... and who you are. Alonzo didn't call me because I'm not a part of this story. Please feel free to take the dialog to our FB page, using your true identity. I'd love to discuss the issues with you or anyone else, but let's please get past the labels first.

taysearch
taysearch

@bgray59 @taysearch Fortunately for me, I began to be taught civics lessons in the third grade, just how to decide whether to have a classroom Halloween and Christmas party or a Christmas party and a Valentine's party.  The problem in our community is that the civics lesson did not carry over to adulthood for many of us.  It's something we learned in school and we left it there when we graduated.  Of course, the fact that it is not even taught today is even worse, but we control institutions where we can teach civics lessons that help our community.  Or we can demand that the schools we pay for teach civics again.

bgray59
bgray59

@taysearch That was covered in my High School freshman civics class.  But that is no longer taught in public school.

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...