Every once in a while I run into some one who for one reason or another tries to tell people in my community not to vote. Sometimes it’s other Black people but most of the time it’s a very special breed of White “know it all” ..many of them are the kind who in the wake of the “Black Lives Matter” movement have taken to calling themselves “allies”.And I have been hearing that term a lot. As well as seeing it in articles. One article I read by a Paul Kivel gives a detailed account of what some white people can do to be “allies” But even this guy , who seems to have made a career out of being the “go to” white guy in terms of being a friend of the “struggle” drips with the kind of “white boy arrogance” that has given me the “creeps” for decades..You get lots of so-called reasons from these people in terms of why voting is not important. One is ”there is much too much money involved in politics” well yeah, it costs to run for office and particularly in some of the national races like congress..Races can’t exactly be bought but a lot of them are influenced by how much money can be thrown at a candidate..for media and a good ground game.But even this can be busted up if enough local people knock on those doors and seek out the local committee positions. I’ve seen this enough to know that it can be done ..and is done all the time But for the most part it’s the local races that are the most important to the individual voter..in other words every vote is important ..but the closer to home the more important each and every vote is.And you get to see the result of your voting right away The Mayor, the District attorneys, the city council people..ALL the people we confront when we go out and protest and demonstrate are elected…and you can’t buy a local election if the people are motivated. But even if NONE of the above is true or is not enough to get you to see how important voting is..What kind of “allies” would be telling you to not use what may be the only voice you have. Protests and Demonstrations are important ..and I have done a lot of that over the last fifty years…but we are almost always protesting to get the ear of someone who was voted into office..DO NOT CALL YOUR SELF AN ALLY OF OUR PEOPLE IF YOU UNDERMINE OUR VOICE…Voting is our right..our sacred right..and the list of people who died for us to get it is too long for us to let any body fuck with it.
When time permits I have been writing here for a few years. Today I was asked for a “bio” by a group that will put me on a panel discussion about a new book dealing with the civil rights movement. I also realized that I had never done that here…so from now on I guess this little blurb that we put together this morning will be my “official” bio. Tim Hayes has been an activist all his life. Inspired by the freedom riders in 1961, Tim still in elementary school sought them out. Even sneaking out of his Mothers church on Sundays to attend meetings of the Atlanta Student Movement. Later Tim spent most of his high school years following the older members of the new organization SNCC. Just doing anything he could just to be around them and a part of the organization. Making coffee , getting sandwiches ,or what ever it took.In January of 1965 while on a trip to New York for the National Science fair. Tim met and talked with Malcolm X . Who he had seen speak several times in Atlanta but had never got a chance to actually meet. This was where Tim got the idea that the civil rights movement was really only a small part of an international struggle to rid the world of Imperialism and colonialism. In March of 1965 Tim was allowed to go on his first real civil rights demonstration. He was a part of the group who marched across that bridge in Selma Alabama on “Bloody Sunday”. On that day he was teargassed and beaten and was run over by a horse before getting away. After high school Tim attended Morehouse College and Yale Univ.. But dropped out when he was asked to join the Black Panther Party . This was directly related to the words he remembered from Malcolm X. Tim founded the Atlanta Ga. chapter of the party and worked in the Chicago , New Haven, and Los Angeles chapters and several offices in New York city..The Black Panthers were an organization that developed solidarity with most of the liberation movements in Africa and Asia at the time.Tim used this opportunity to visit and work in many countries , Cuba, Angola, North Viet Nam and Israel/Palestine.During this time he dug wells in Guinea, inoculated children against TB in Angola during the middle of the war for liberation there and spent time in an Israeli prison under some of the harshest conditions you can imagine. When Tim decided he wanted to settle down and have a normal life and raise children. He found this was impossible to do in his home town of Atlanta Ga. It seemed that he was simply too well known by law enforcement to just be a “regular” citizen. So he moved to Philadelphia in 1973..Taking jobs first in drug rehabilitation and then with the Philadelphia board of education. When Tim moved to the Germantown area in 1978 he found his new mission . and has mostly devoted his time to voter education and registration.And from time to time if the candidate inspires him he works in political campaigns most notably the Irv Ackelsberg and Sherrie Cohen city council campaigns. In 2014 Tim registered over 4000 voters in the Philadelphia area..Today Tim spends most of his time trying to be a good grand father and still plays music with among others the legendary Philadelphia band Philly Gumbo.