by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Latrice Monique Walker, affectionately known as The Beautiful Brown Barrister from Brownsville, made history in Brownsville Saturday, June 26, by announcing her candidacy for District Female Leader in Brownsville’s 55th Assembly District.
Latrice Monique Walker, Esq., right hand to Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, of the 11th CD, serving as her Community Development Policy Analyst, proudly threw her hat in the ring, pledging to address the ills that have assailed her community for decades.
True, this is Ms. Walker’s first foray into the political realm as a candidate. But if her passion and enthusiasm for her community and her constituents-to-be -- she’s Brownsville born and bred -- are any indicators, she is definitely the best person for the job!
Using the slogan “WALK WITH WALKER!!” she detailed many of the problems that have assailed her neighborhood, including being the last to be considered for programs, while at the same time the first to suffer cuts; being the community most likely to be targeted and profiled by police for criminal activities; being the community most likely to have underperforming educators and underperforming schools.
Starting out in a relatively soft tone by saying “To God Be The Glory, for Who am I?” she briefly reminisced about her childhood in Brownsville with her father, who succumbed to cancer when she was a child, she stated: “As a young girl my dad used to sit on this very bench right there. One day I was out here, I fell off this very little block; there was a doctor’s office across the street and my dad carried me right across the street to the doctor’s office right there.“
But her voice amped up a couple of decibels as she launched into the body of her speech, and the crowd found themselves totally mesmerized: “Your roots got to be thick in Brownsville if you want to get out here and work in the community! And every one who knows me knows that Brownsville is always on my heart; it’s always on my mind. The other day I said to Assemblyman Boyland, I’m tired of people looking at Brownsville as a hot dog and a hamburger vote! We said we need to put new leadership in Brownsville -- and we are the new leadership! We’ve got homeless issues out here! We’ve got drug abuse out here! We’ve got people who are dying on the street everyday in this community and it’s time to take it back! And it’s starting here with me! We’re out here in this heat. We’re taking it to the street. We are empowering these young people. We’re giving them jobs; we’re going to tell them about the importance of education; we’re going to talk to them about the importance about giving back to their community. Jobs not jails! We have more Black men in Brownsville who are going to jail who would have been in these facilities, but who is trying to keep them from going to jail? I AM! I am out here on the battle field with these people. That’s one thing that I always talk about with people is that you have to be hands on. Politics is a contact sport. When you’re out here and people are saying to you, what are you doing for the community? What can you say you were doing for the community, out here teaching children how to write grants. We need to be a self-sustaining community. We have been dependent on too many outside forces for far too long. You have to be hands on. You got to be out there in the street on a daily basis! So we‘re going to walk with Walker!”
She ended on a crescendo that got even those on walkers up on their feet, applauding her, and smiling at this young woman who might just be able to galvanize the energy and the apathy and forge it into the action that has so long been needed.
Latrice Walker has first hand knowledge of these challenges she spoke of, having grown up in the Glenmore Housing Projects, and received her early childhood education in the New York City Public Schools of Ocean-Hill Brownsville, P.S. 178 and I.S. 55. She obviously had parents and motivators in her life that instilled in her a life long love of learning and achievement. She received the Martin Safran Assistant Principal’s Award on behalf of her school fo having surpassed all other schools in the city. This came as a total surprise, since her school was considered as one of the City’s poorest performers. She attended Brooklyn Technical High School (one of the top high schools in the city) ; and was attended Cornell University in her junior year. She attended SUNY Purchase, and received her Juris Doctorate of Law from Pace University.
Latrice Walker acknowledges there were constant challenges in growing up in a community targeted by economic and sociological racism, but also states that these challenges are not insurmountable. “I’m living proof that you can do anything you put your mind, spirit, will and discipline to. There is nothing you can’t imagine or become, as long as you are not allowing the circumstances to dictate your destiny.”
Dressed in a chic white two piece suit, in a style that is both hip and business, Ms. Walker enthusiastically urged the crowd gathered in the sweltering heat to “WALK WITH WALKER!”
Brownsville will never be the same Latrice Walker at the helm, they’re looking at a hands on, tireless worker, advocate and supporter for the autonomy of a community long suffering under the weight of prejudice and neglect.
Assemblymember William Boyland Jr., who is making a bid for re-election, is supporting Walker’s candidacy, stating, “We have been able to bring new jobs and affordable homes to the community. But with Latrice on board, our arsenal will be complete. We have the will, the strength and the ability to make this a banner decade.”
City Councilmember Letitia James, who served as MC came out in strong support of Latrice‘s candidacy.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who wholeheartedly endorsed the re-election of William Boyland, enthusiastically stated that “Latrice is not new to the community of Brownsville, she’s true to it!” The Congresswoman further stated Brownsville could have no better representation than Latrice to ensure the issues and concerns of the community are rectified.
Speaking of unity in the community, Congresswoman Clarke indicated broad bases interaction between her office, Assemblymember Boyland’s office as well as that of City Councilmember Letitia James. “When things assail our communities, we pledge to get it done together, so that each of us in our capacity works to provide a solution to the problem! So we have joined together in unity to build this community and to provide services that our people have been denied for so long.”
Further commenting on Walker’s candidacy, Congresswoman Clarke stated, “she has not failed Brownsville, and never will, because where Brownsville goes, she goes. We are taking this mission very seriously. We got a lot of challenges. We’re working right now to stop the NYPD on their stop and frisk practices. The New York State legislature just passed a bill to get rid of the stop and frisk data base. And I am in touch with Attorney General Holder’s office to make sure that our civil rights are protected. Our children do not need to be harassed just for walking down the street!”
Despite the heat of the day, Ms. Walker’s campaign kickoff was well attended by community members of all stripes and ages, who came to lend their support to the young woman who has been present at so many events held in their behalves. She’s assisted in legal matters when they had no means to pay or acquire legal assistance; she’s advocated for quality homes and education in a community that has been relegated to the “hot dog and hamburger vote”, working to ensure their inclusion in opportunities that were accorded other, more affluent communities.
I think it’s clear by the tone and tenor of this article that I am totally in support of Latrice Walker’s candidacy. Having had several opportunities to work closely with her in a variety of programs and events, I have been greatly impressed by her knowledge, enthusiasm, dedication, discipline and creativity. While many of us pay lip service to having the “youth” more involved in current issues, rarely has there been a person in this category (I.e. youth) who actually has a grasp on, and respect for the accomplishments of her predecessors (I.e. Civil Rights Activists), and the responsibility incumbent on her and her peers going forward, who is actually making a significant contribution to the community. She’s blazing new paths, while simultaneously learning from the lessons of history.
If you are interested in supporting this dynamic woman in her fight to bring a better quality of life to Brownsville, and hence, to the rest of Brooklyn as well, contact her campaign headquarters at 1747 Pitkin Ave. or call (718) 940-2018. Time to get out there and be a part of the process to progress. Time for Brownsville to WALK WITH WALKER
Stay Blessed &