A Letter to the [next] President: Don’t participate in CBCI Debates

The SuperSpade has been very involved in the fight to get the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) to end their partnership with Fox News for their debates, while at the same time helping to convince leading Democratic Presidential candidates not to participate.

Below is an open letter to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards, created by Color of Change, which The SuperSpade has signed officially (along with other Black bloggers). The letter is encouraging the three of them to stand their ground and not participate in the CBCI debates. If you are interested in signing it too, let us know so we can add you to the list.

One Love. One II.

Dear [candidate],

Your decision last month not to attend the debate sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus institute demonstrated truly principled leadership.

Now, a group of CBC members, led by Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), is asking you to reverse that decision. But the truth about Fox and its partnership with the CBC institute has not changed. A Fox-CBCI partnership will use the brand of the CBC—perhaps the most prominent and powerful Black political institution in America—to lend legitimacy to a propaganda network that regularly denigrates black people, black culture and black institutions. This partnership is bad for Black America, and it is a huge mistake.

Since before the debate partnership was announced publicly, Black bloggers, community newspapers, columnists, and radio hosts have expressed outrage that such a partnership would even be considered. Over 16,000 members of ColorOfChange.org reached out to individual CBC members and the CBC institute in hopes that they would be responsive and accountable to the community they purport to represent. But the leadership of the CBC institute has continued to willfully ignore the voices of Black Americans, and amazingly, also dismissed voices of dissent from within the CBC itself (nearly a quarter of CBC members have expressed opposition to the debate, either publicly or privately). Now, more than ever, it’s obvious that the CBC’s leadership is painfully out of step with Black America.

It has been suggested that by skipping this debate, you are missing a valuable opportunity to speak on issues of concern to Black Americans. However, the CBC institute debate broadcast by CNN as well as Tavis Smiley’s debates on PBS provide similar opportunities to address these issues without sending the message that you are willing to validate a network that is consistently hostile to Black Americans and Black political interests.

You did the right thing by rejecting Fox. We applaud your leadership and will continue to support your decision.


Brandon Quante White, The SuperSpade
Garlin Dorell Gilchrist II, The SuperSpade
Jill Tubman, Jack and Jill Politics
Wayne Bennett, Field Negro
Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
Leutisha Stills, Sr. Correspondent & Chief Researcher, CBCMonitor
dnA, Too Sense
Pam Spaulding, Pam’s House Blend
Chris Rabb, Afro-Netizen.com
Rikyrah, Mirror on America
Earl Dunovant, Prometheus 6
Margaret Kimberley, Freedom Rider
James Rucker, ColorOfChange.org
Skeptical Brotha, skepticalbrotha.wordpress.com

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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