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By Arlene Jones
As I sit here writing this column, I already know where I will be on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m. I will be at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn in Room 2119 - the courtroom of Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. I will be there to support the state representative of the 8th Legislative District, LaShawn K. Ford.
When I first heard the charges that were levied against Rep. Ford, I didn't believe them. After reading more about what the feds are claiming, I am even more adamant in my sentiments that these are just some trumped up charges to attack one of the few black legislators who have advocated for black people.
As one of my older and most respected mentors once advised me, he said, "If a politician ain't doing nothing for black people, nobody will ever bother them. But if that person is trying to do for black people, that person will have people coming out of the woodworks to stop them."
Remember that it was LaShawn Ford who convened a meeting to even discuss bringing the National Guard to Chicago during one of our prior summer of violence. The idea wasn't to suppress black people as much as it was to bring about a sense of calmness and civility. Not many politicians want to address the ongoing crime in our community, since in fighting crime you will have to go after the family members of your voting constituency.
LaShawn (yeah, I know him well enough to use his first name) also was fighting to get his Black Act legislation in play. Modeled after the Hispanic Employment Act, which Governor Blagojevich signed as an executive order for Latino employment, the Black Act would help to secure our access to state jobs. He also wanted ex-offenders to be able to get loans to start their own businesses as a way for them to gain employment, albeit self-employment.
I am very familiar with the now-defunct Shorebank's policy of not releasing funds that they loan you until all the work is done. That policy is one which ensured that the loan you took out to, say, remodel a kitchen was actually used for that purpose. So I can't wait to hear the feds contention that LaShawn used the money for other purposes, especially in light of the Hired Truck Scandal with the former Hispanic gang member who was running it, as well as the politically connected Duff family scandal which had them getting over 100 million in city business pretending to be a minority business, among other scandals. Yet the feds have not even gotten near the doorstep of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Amazing!
Heck, even as Ford's indictment on so-called "bank fraud" charges loom, our governor, former governor and members of the state legislatures are taking steps to reward illegal aliens with drivers licenses.
We have people who shouldn't be in this country and, on top of it, are working without authorization, and we have politicians wanting them to have licenses to drive to the jobs that they shouldn't be working at. Are we a nation of laws, or do the laws only apply when it comes to black people?
I am asking, no I am begging, that everyone who reads this column come out next Tuesday and stand in support of Rep. LaShawn Ford. The judge that is hearing his case is the same one who presided over the mockery known as the Aaron Patterson trial (conspiracy charge to buy weapons that never existed) as well as former Gov. George Ryan (had the audacity to release the wrongly convicted black men off of death row).
Every last one of us knows when something is fishy. We can all do our own version of the "sniff test" to ferret out what is stench. And an indictment based on corruption that allegedly occurred before LaShawn took office is suspect in itself.
So instead of reading about what happened, come out and be a part of it. Hear for you self and take a stand the way LaShawn Ford has taken a stand for us ever since he took office.