Can Conrad Tillard Win in His Bid for Bed Stuys 36 CD Seat?


By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:


Some were admittedly stunned by the announcement.  To others it came as no surprise - in fact it came with a sigh relief of something akin to joy:  CONRAD TILLARD has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next city council representative for the 36th Councilmatic District of BedStuy Brooklyn.

 The big question on everybody's mind is Can Conrad Tillard upset the apple cart  and win? According to Rev. Tillard and his supporters, the answer is resounding YES! From his opponents and detractors, however, there is a fearful "Oh no!"

Notice I said “Oh no!” not as in “No” but as in, “Oh no! Why now? Why him? What do we do now? Tillard's entry into the already hotly contended race is definitely a game changer – one that places Bed Stuy squarely on the winning side, should he emerge the victor. He is far and beyond the best candidate for the job, when you consider his vast experience, resources, savvy and ability to interface with people of all origins; and problem solve issues at the highest and the most grass root levels.

Conrad Tillard may have come "late" to the table, but he didn't come without an appetite, and he certainly didn't come without gifts – he brought with him his vast resources, contacts and the capacity to stand toe to toe with those who have been instrumental in trying to keep Bed Stuy below the bar.

Like the old saying, “Better Late than Not At All.” And “late” is a relative term that implies there were some assumptions made that now have to be readjusted in light of the fact that it would take five opponents, pooling their experiences to equal the track record Tillard has garnered over the past two and a half decades.

Tillard has been observing the competition and the terrain for the past year to ascertain whether or not the candidates would be able to address the issues confronting Bed Stuy's 36 CD. “I wanted to be sure that my candidacy would be an asset to the community, not just another face on the poster.  I searched my heart; I spoke with the Almighty, and I was told that if it was to get done, I would have to be the one to do it.  I could not wait for someone else to do the job that has yet to be done to make Bed Stuy whole.  And that's why I'm entering; and that's why I will win."”

With nearly 30 years of experience under his belt, and looking way too young for a man approaching 50, Conrad Tillard means to do Brooklyn some good. Bringing his experience and resources to the table, the race is about to rachet up a notch.

While his opponents are each heavy hitters in their own right – a testament to the caliber of residents in Bed Stuy, they are clearly outmatched in this regard. He's an activist whose experience goes back to his early teens when he worked in the campaign for then Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson. That early foray into the realm of political warfare had him interfacing with the Kennedys, and other major players of the Democratic National Party.

After  Jesse Jackson's defeat, Tillard's interest and commitment to the Black community took him to the Nation of Islam. Having completed his BA in African American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, he volunteered to work with the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan, who subsequently appointed him to Muhammad Mosque No. 7 in Harlem, changing his name to Conrad Muhammad. 

As head of Mosque No. 7 he was integrally involved with Brooklyn, the Bronx (he was the first on sight after the shooting of Amadou Diallo), Harlem, Westchester, and the world  -- as the spokes person for one of the most powerful advocacy organizations ever. "I've cut my teeth on the issues that drive our people, that matter to us most." 

He's interfaced with gangs in their strongholds, from the Crips and the Bloods and has persuaded them to interface with each other. While at the same time confronting the police on issues of abuse of power and profiling. According to Tillard: “I have a strong relation with the NYPD, and  also their biggest critic.  I have absolutely no problem in saying what's on my mind, and when they are wrong.  As a pastor, he has also grieved with families whose children were innocent victims gunned down by both those factors.  "There is far too much Black on Black violence; and racial profiling targeted at our community.   This will stop under my watch."

Tillard has an aggressive, affirmative, affective blueprin for Bedford Stuyvesant.  He understands more than most the heavy mantel that is being passed down by Al Vann, who  not only has blazed a path, but left some mighty shoes to fill.  The person who succeeds him cannot be weak willed.  He has a great legacy to follow, while at the same time moving forward to expand and empower Bed Stuys' residents even more.  It will take someone who has already garnered the trust of the stakeholders, who has no hesitancy about taking principled, appropriate stands.  Vann's seat is pivotal for all the other elected officials, who can draw strength from his leadership.

Tillard's  taken principled stands on the following issues: 
   Ending under employment; providing training and entreprenurial opportunities
    Protecting and rejuvenating Boys and Girls High School; ensuring equitable distribution of funds 
     and resources; save and transform Medgar Evers College
Health and hospitals 
    Ensuring quality of care, upgrading, not closing hospitals in Central Brooklyn; increasing 
    strict  sanitary condition and better patient care
Affordable housing:   
   Putting teeth in Project Reclaim, repurposing and upgrading vacant properties; financial 
    assistance for low/mod income families; 
Parenting skills:    
     Providing parenting skills trainings to young parents; better day care facilities;  
Recreation facilities:  
     Upgrading and re-establishing facilities and programs for youth, seniors and families through
     out Central Brooklyn; 
Ending the crime corridors; 
Ending racial profiling and police brutality.

"I've been working with the communities of Brooklyn and Bed Stuy since coming to New York in 1989; when I first had my radio show on WBLS.  I am more than familiar with the issues confronting Brooklyn, I have been hands on in combating them, and will continue to do so."

 He states: “The beautiful thing about life is that I've had exposure to life at a lot of different levels – from the poorest of the poor, to the elite. There are not a lot of people, in terms of the human condition, that I cannot sit down and talk to. I have been in crack houses, in prisons, in populations – not in the waiting rooms, when I go I go into the populations. Gang meetings, but I've also sat down with the elite of society. I've sat in classrooms, I've sat in meetings; and so I really understand life in a broad way. All my life I've been involved in issues of importance and concern to African Americans. People ask how I'm going to attract white voters; I don't think white voters are any different than anyone else. They evaluate people's experience and credentials. And they just want to know that a person can serve. My experience allows me to engage people at every level of life.”

With all the foregoing thus far state, we would be totally out of line if we did not mention that under Tillard's direction, during his tenure at Muhammad's Mosque No. 7, he and Rev. Calvin Butts gathered and organized more than 250,000 African American men, providing travel and accommodations for them to participate in the Million Man March in Washington DC, the largest such gathering ever of its kind. That kind of effort required resourcefulness, intraction with various groups, economic and educational backgrounds. “It was during this time that I was introduced to President Clinton by the Hon. Louis Farrakhan as his right hand key person for the organizing of the March. I met congressmen and women, media, police, security – it was perhaps one of the most pivotal events in my life.” (and needless to say, the lives of the two million Black men who attended, as well.)
All this goes to the measure of the man who, by some accounts, may have come late to the party, but certainly did not arrive without a ton of gifts. So, Rev. Conrad Tillard is running for City Council in the Borough of Brooklyn, for Bedford Stuyvesant's 36th Councilmatic District.  With all that he's been through and all that he's accomplished, you might say he's the epitome of the meaning of "Bed Stuy - do! or die

Now that you know, what will you do?

Stay Blessed &
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Just a footnote: for those of you who are cynical or ignorant about the importance of this or any other election taking place anywhere in the world, but especially in Brooklyn:  You can't afford to sit on the margins or sidelines and gripe and withhold your vote and support for whom ever is running.  We are rapidly losing ground because we seem to have more grousers than voters.  They spend the rest of the year complaining, but don't get off their backsides to make a change.  We can't wait for 2014 for regime change in Congress.  We have to be the change we want to see.  Whether you vote for Rev. Tillard or any of the other candidates, and they are, by the way, all good people who care about Black people, you owe it to yourself and the rest of us to vote.  A whole bunch of Black people died so you could do so, so don't be the one to make their sacrifices be in vain.  


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