A.S.I.A. [Atlantis Build] is a global institution founded in Niagara Falls, NY. Atlantis School promotes educational programs, creative arts, cultural initiatives, audiovisual projects and commerce that supports the positive growth and development of youth and families. This website features a bi-monthly blog that highlights the social commentary, current events and creative insights of author, youth advocate and creative artist Saladin Quanaah Allah. #AtlantisBuild #FivePercenter
Sunday, September 22, 2013
“I’m Not Into Politics”
Them: "I'm not into politics."
Me: "Oh that's alright, politics are in you."
Running for public office has been one of the most educational experiences in my life. Not just on the 'Politician' side, but also what I’m learning about the politics of people, places, and things. Since announcing my candidacy for Niagara County Legislature on July 4th, 2013, I am now about three months into this Election Year. That’s three months of campaigning, learning, and gaining valuable experience about a terrain that’s not reflected on a map.
On Tuesday September 10th we had our Primary Election, and the unofficial results show that I won the Working Families party line endorsement. This means that in our November 5th General Election, I will be on the ballot representing 3 party lines; our Niagara Youth Party that I created, the Working Families, and the Green Party. The unofficial results for the Democratic Primary show that I got about 25% of the vote with a write-in campaign; a voter turn-out that has never happened in our district before. People were being told by poll workers that they could only mark the bubble for the candidate on the ballot because the ballots are jamming the machines, others didn’t know how to spell my name correctly, some simply marked an “X” in the write-in spot, and still others just voted for the other candidate simply because they were confused about how to do a write-in vote. I was speaking to a woman at a polling site and after she voted she came right outside and told me that she didn’t vote for me because she wasn’t sure about who I was and what I’ve been doing in our community. After a few moments of talking she realized that I was a Guest Speaker at her church Christ Redemption Tabernacle for a Black History Month Program a couple of years ago. She also reminded me that I had given her the framed picture of Jesus and his Disciples found in the catacombs of Domitilla Rome, that she proudly has on her wall and she sees every day. All of these challenges I saw and heard personally, or voters shared with me about their experience at the polls. And despite these challenges, without one lawn sign, house mailers, media coverage, or etc. our voter turn-out was a great success.
As I mentioned, one of the most educational parts of this whole experience is what I’ve been learning about the politics of people, places, and things. See, people are often under the impression that “politics” is an isolated world that people called “politicians” are associated with. The reality is, everything is political. Politics, by one definition, simply means “the science of power or influence.” Science comes from the latin root ‘scire’ which means “to know”, so everyone, on some level, even a baby crying for milk, knows how to use power to influence their environment. The clothes you chose to wear today are influential. The music you like has the power to persuade (influence). Every advertisement we see has a political aim, whether it’s influencing us to buy food, get a flu shot, or watch a new sitcom. The reason celebrities do or don’t speak about certain current events is political; they may not want to lose endorsements, they may been looking for endorsements, or there may be some other reason. Whether we know it or not, every person, place, or thing in this Interdependent Universe has a fundamental influence, a matrix, and that power was forged through a political process. What does this mean locally? What this means is that the less aware we are of our personal/collective power to influence our environment, our community, and our families, the more power we relinquish, by default; thus allowing others to influence our environment, community, and families for us. More times than not, those who we allow to influence the needs of our environment, community, and families, in a public official capacity, end up using this power to advance only themselves, or use this influence to only help their family. Hence why we have the common phrase, “politics are dirty”, which I don't agree with. The way people use politics can be dirty and our City has seen a lot of that over the years.
In closing, I want to reiterate that “politics” are not an isolated world that people called “politicians” are associated with. Everything is political and was forged through a political process. The same politics some Politicians use to enrich themselves in office, are the same politics some Pastors use to enrich themselves in the pulpit. The same power of persuasion some Politicians use to get voters to accept a resolution, is the same power of persuasion some Employers use to get employees to accept a policy. The same influence a Politician has to positively or negatively impact the district they serve, is the same influence a Teacher has to positively or negatively impact the students they serve. For those of you who claim you don’t get involved in politics, that idea of neutrality doesn’t change the fact that you already are involved, and living on a local political landscape where the decisions of others impact your life each and every day. You mind as well find out more about the people making these decisions, their reasoning for doing it, and if these decisions are helping serve the needs of the community you live in. If not, then you do have the power to personally/collectively change that. Vote Tuesday November 5th.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: As planned, the unofficial Primary Election results show that we WON the Working Families party line!! This means that in our November 5th General Election, I will be on the ballot representing 3 party lines; our Niagara Youth Party, the Working Families, and the Green Party!!
The unofficial election results for the DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY show that I got about 25% of the vote WITH A WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN!! This is virtually unheard of, especially when people were being told at the polls that they could only mark the bubble for the candidate on the ballot, and got confused about how a write-in vote works. People who understand these challenges of a write-in campaign of this magnitude, with hundreds of voters, no lawn signs, house mailers, or etc. have been stopping me in the streets telling me how impressed they were to see that kind of turn out!! Thank You again for your support, especially those of you who came out to make the conscious effort to vote for me. Our voice was heard loud and clear now, and we're going to make an even bigger statement about change for our community in the GENERAL ELECTION November 5th!!
'Meet The Candidate' Interview on the Soapbox Show
As we approach the Primary
Election for Niagara County Legislator and City Council on Tuesday September
10th, there are a couple of things I wanted to share with all of you, our local
Is it just me or have you also
noticed that most County Legislator and City Council candidates only speak
about their contributions and accomplishments to our county, and city, within
the context of their job duties or affiliations? Rarely do I hear someone speak
about anything they've done as an everyday citizen. Rarely do I hear of
anything some candidates have done that they're not getting paid for, or that's
not affiliated with a club/organization they belong to. In other words, if it
wasn't their job, or expected of them as a club/organization member, you'll see
almost no contributions or sacrifices being made to benefit anyone outside of
their own family. We are all citizens first, and what we are willing and able
to do first, as everyday citizens, regardless of our job, or the club/organization
we belong to, is worth considering. This is especially important to consider
when these everyday citizens, choose to run for public office, and serve our everyday
people as elected officials.
Recently a citizen reached
out to me about a public safety concern in his neighborhood. This person is not
a politician, they are not a member of a club/organization, they are not
getting paid, and their concern had nothing to do with their job, or affiliations.
This was an everyday citizen being proactive and taking the responsibility to
coordinate other concerned citizens to resolve a situation in one of our
communities. That proactive approach towards the growth and development of our
communities, as an everyday citizen first, is a quality we rarely see in public
officials today. It is my assessment that many of the things we would like to
see happen in our communities, and city, aren't getting done, or won’t get done,
because we choose people to represent everyday citizens that have done very
little to nothing as everyday citizens themselves. Imagine if the citizen who
reached out to me also had this mentality "it's not my
job, and I'm not getting paid for it" philosophy. Can you see how this increases the danger, and
lack of growth and development, of a community?
I am currently running for
Niagara County Legislature to represent the fourth district. The majority of
the contributions I have made to our community, and other communities around
the country, have been as an everyday citizen. I had the opportunity to work as
a program consultant for the History Channel Show 'Gangland', and work as a
media consultant for an actor from the T.V. Series OZ. I've created Mentor Programs including a free
8-Week Young Writers Program that empowered our youth to successfully
publish a book. I operate a Prison Correspondence Program where I donate
literature to correctional facilities around the country. I've done fundraisers
to send two local youth on a College Tour out of state, and support a
Reconstruction Project for an academy in Philadelphia, PA. I've hosted various
educational forums, and taught life skills classes, at our Niagara Falls Public
Library. I've volunteered with various community organizations, and have done
workshops, radio programs, and speaking engagements about community outreach,
economic development, and personal empowerment globally. I've authored 10
books, have helped publish other authors, and have written for various
publications globally. These are just a fraction of the things I've done, and
currently do, as a 38 year old everyday citizen whose concerned about the
growth and development of our communities, especially our youth. These are contributions
and accomplishments that have nothing to do with a job I'm getting paid for, a
title, or a club/organization I belong to.
of Niagara Falls, if your goal is to elect people who are going to anticipate
your needs as citizens, and exceed the expectations of our community and city,
there are two things we must do. Number one is: assess candidates based upon
what we've proactively done, and what we currently do, as everyday citizens.
To be more accurate, begin your assessment of us prior to this election year because
all of the dog petting, baby kissing, and festival photos can create an image
of activism and community outreach that may have never existed. Secondly,
public office is a job, and just like with any job, you have people who sit
around and watch the clock, people that milk the clock, people that hide until
it's time to punch out, and people that give you a hard day’s work. You also
have people who don't treat their position like it's just a job, and will do
everything in their power to help resolve your concerns of our community. Before you vote for
any of us, find out who we are. Look for evidence that supports what we have been willing and able to do, as an
everyday citizen; because this is who we really are. And this is who we will continue to be, after you
have elected us to represent you.