Take Back America- Davey D Confrontation with Fox News
By Paradise Gray
This years "Take Back America Conference" in Washington D.C was much more exciting and energetic than the one I attended just a year ago. There were more young people of color present and everyone seemed to have extra pep in their step. I began the weekend with The League of Young Voters, taking their empowering "Tunnel Building" leadership training program at the offices of The People For The American Way. The training sessions were good, and included veteren and aspiring organizers from all across America, some as young as 17 years old.
The new National Director of the League Rob "Biko" Baker and National Political Director Khari Mosley handled many of the training workshops personally. It was a pleasure to work with these brothers and I learned some great new ideas and concepts to use for organizing effective actions and successful campaigns. I was happy to contribute by helping to teach a workshop on using new media and the internet (Myspace and Facebook) as organizing tools.
On Monday March 17th we headed over to the The Omni Shoreham Hotel where Van Jones the President and founder of "Green For All" brought the heat to the Take Back America Conference at this morning. Speaking to an overflowing room full of progressive Democrats Mr. Jones passionately explained the benefits of an emerging Green Economy. His inspiring speech informed the diverse crowd about policies and initiatives that could create jobs, efficient energy, reduce carbon emissions and improve local economies.
Mr. Jones received thunderous applause when he noted that by retrofitting American cities with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar panels and other
alternate sustainable energy sources it would ensure that we would never have to wage war for oil again!
In the crowd I noticed the Reverend Jessie Jackson, Davey D as well as members of The League Of Young Voters, One HOOD, the National Political Hip-hop Convention, Reverend Yearwood and The Hip-hop Caucus and members of The Gathering.
Keep your eyes on Van Jones and the concept of a Green Economy and Green-Collar Jobs. Van Jones is a dynamic speaker with a great plan, his final words "I am not here to "Take America Back, I'm here to take it forward" connected and resonated well with this large progressive crowd.
Things got kind of heated on Tuesday morning March 18 when the Rev.Jessie Jackson was scheduled speak on a panel "Progressive Movement In A Democratic Era: The Lessons Of King And The Civil Rights Movement".
The energy was already elevated as everyone was anxiously awaiting 10:30 when Barack Obama was scheduled to give his historic speech on race relations in America. As I approched the Regency Ballroom I noticed the Rev.Jessie Jackson being interviewed by Griff Jenkins from Fox News. Griff Jenkins was being very aggressive as he demanded that Rev. Jackson answer the question: "Do you or do you not condemn Barack Obama's former Pastor Rev. Wright?"
Rev. Jackson refused to answer in the way that Jenkins was asking, Rev. Jackson accused Mr. Jenkins of using divisive tactics instead of covering the issues that are important in this election, Mr. Jenkins would rudely push his microphone towards Rev. Jackson's face and reiterate "Do you or do you not condemn Rev.Wright?"
I did not appreciate the way Mr. Jenkins was treating Rev. Jackson and loudly voiced my opinion as Rev. Jackson, annoyed by Mr. Jenkins unprofessionalism, walked away. Mr. Jenkins then interviewed me and and when posed with the same question of whether or not I condemned Rev.Wright, I responded that when your face down in a mud puddle with someone's foot on the back of your neck, you should not be judged by the words that come out of your mouth at that moment, anger is the appropriate natural human response to oppression!
I argued that Rev. Wright's sermons were based on real feelings within the black community and had foundations in fire and brimstone preaching directly from the bible. Mr. Jenkins attempted to cut me off in the middle of sentences but I continued that I could quote him hundreds of statements from the bible that he would not agree with and he would not even recognize that I was quoting the bible unless I told him in advance.
I questioned Mr. Jenkins about why he was interogatting Rev. Jackson so hard when Barack Obama would be addressing the situation himself in less than 2 hours, I suggested that Mr. Jenkins that we should all wait until we have given Senator Obama the opportunity to address it personally before we form our opinions.
I guess that wasn't enough for Griff Jenkins because as soon as the panel was over, his FOX News TV crew pushed past other journalists on the stage who were asking Rev. Jackson questions about the 5th Anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Davey D happened to be one of the journalists who was patently waiting for his turn to ask Rev. Jackson some questions, when Griff Jenkins barged in and started dominating the conversation, repeatedly demanding Rev. Jackson to answer, and diverting from the questions that others were asking about the war.
Davey had seen and heard enough, he began asking Griff Jenkins why are you here? Aggressively pushing his mic in Griff Jenkins face as he had done Rev.Jackson, and stepping in front of a retreating Griff Jenkins asking, 'why are you here?'
Davey encouraged others to flip the script on aggressive TV reporters that come in and try to set a tone that is contrary to the way that you are coming from, "you have a right to stop them from dominating the conversation and regain control. Fox News has declared war on people of color and puts them in a defensive position, not given them a fair chance to answer back to salacious charges and assertions. They have one sided conversations by asking you questions and cutting you off before you have a chance to answer them. Fox News creates an agenda and then places people of color within that framework to underscore what they are trying to say".
Davey D said that what they tried to do to Rev. Jessie Jackson was a perfect example of "ambushing someone with the cameras" they kept asking Rev. Jackson over and over "why don't you denounce Rev. Wright?... And as Rev. Jackson tried to answer they would interrupt him with "why don't you denounce Rev. Wright?"
Davey D thought that it was disrespectfull, not as much towards Rev. Jackson (who Davey says can handle himself) as much as it is towards millions of people who can discern what is outrageous or offensive on their own without aid from someone who doesn't go to the church so they don't know how to put things in the proper context. Here is online video of the incident: (from FOX News)