By Brother Jesse Muhammad
I confess: I am not a fan of America’s way of politics. And I am even more sickened when aspects of the same style of politics, or some call politricks, that we condemn creeps its way into our community organizations.
However, since the tender age of five my stern grandmother, Ms. Myrtle Ross, forced me into understanding its importance, process, and usage.
For decades she served as Precinct Judge over an area in Northeast Houston. She would crisscross the city and even the country to fight on various issues I knew nothing about and when she would leave for her trips she would simply say, “Jesse, your Granny is off again to fight the good fight.”
Every year when election time rolled around, my siblings and cousins could be found block walking for candidates that our grandmother backed that we knew nothing of. Hey, when granny gives you orders, you don’t ask questions. Her house was not a democracy; it was a dictatorship.
On Election days, my Saturday mornings of watching Smurfs or Fraggle Rock were replaced with stale Shipley Donuts and 12 straight hours of working a polling site passing out flyers and earning just enough to buy two honey buns and a red soda. Didn’t seem fair, but I couldn’t protest my grandmother for higher wages because I valued my soft behind. However, when I got older, I earned more.
My grandmother would drag me to political events so much during the week. And just before pulling up she would remind me, “Look people straight in the eye when you shake their hands, Jesse.” Those events were most of my first time encounters with and seeing rooms filled with White people--a culture shock to say the least. So I marveled at how my grandmother worked the room and even more how much people respected her—especially the candidates. At community events, she would be so outspoken and people would flock to her afterwards.
It was at these moments I realized that my grandmother had ALOT of influence and she was not a traditional politician in the sense of the word. However, she had the pulse of the people and with that she could influence candidates. Today, her den is filled with countless recognitions from officials on all levels, all the way up to past Presidents.
It wasn’t until I got older that I learned to appreciate what she did for me instead of focusing on what she was doing to me. Her way of community politicking has influenced me much and makes me very careful whom I put my backing behind when navigating through the political seas.
This brings me to 29-year old Ms. Christina Sanders.
Let me be clear: I support her 1000% in her run for Houston City Council District D.
I don’t know Christina from a distance. I have had the opportunity to work alongside her on many issues locally and nationally. She is a passionate, dedicated, relentless and admirable community servant and visionary.
Her educational resume speaks for itself and her transcript of tenacity of purpose speaks even louder. When Christina attaches her name to a cause, she has never played around. She’s driven by love for her community and that love has touched countless people--whether it has been in the classroom, the Houston streets, the halls of the Texas state capitol, or the steps of the White House.
I was in attendance when she made her official announcement and was in awe, however, not surprised by the outpouring of love expressed by those who have been inspired by her. Most of them were young college students.
“We deserve the best. We just need a leader who will deliver the best,” she said. “I’m just saying, we can do better. That’s why I am running.”
Christina is one of the most skilled people I know when it comes to engaging and training young people to be involved and participate in elections, voting and public policy.
“My name on the ballot is not about me. It’s about us,” she said.
Her platform includes Create Jobs, by fostering the growth of the “smallest” of small businesses and investing in a well-educated workforce. I heard her stress to present college students the need to have an entrepreneurial mind. Who else is telling them that?
She wants to Improve Public Safety through a community-oriented approach and developing creative solutions for getting our young people productive and off the streets.
And she has stressed Sustain Our Communities through neighborhood beautification, green spaces and welcoming balanced and fair real-estate and business development that respects and values our properties and the neighborhood’s rich history. She has also been unafraid in addressing gentrification and the sweeping food deserts in District D.
“There’s a buffet of fast food chains, but the people need access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We deserve better,” she said.
I believe Christina will deliver the best and that she is the best candidate in the race for Houston City Council District D. She can make a change because she has already lived up to the quote that we all seem to recite and tweet: "Be the change you want to see."
So, on Tuesday, November 5, I encourage everyone to go to the polls and cast your vote for her!
(For more information on Christina Sanders' Campaign, visit http://christinaforhouston.com/home/)