For several decades, Washingtonians have been steered to select certain candidates for elected office based on the opinions of editors and reporters of daily newspapers. Never mind the fact that most of the editors and reporters didn’t reside in the District and knew nothing of the struggle of its people other than what they read. However, the papers used an effective method to exclude certain candidates from print to give the impression they were not worthy of supporting. The mainstream media had its own agenda – to put in office elected officials who would “gentrify” the District.

On the surface these “hand-picked” media candidates seemed harmless and friendly. Knowing that many of these candidates lacked the brains of a snail, the media made them seem intelligent, strong, noteworthy and electable. Every day, the media would pound the same message until our people finally repeated what they read and heard like a parrot. Voters stopped looking for viable candidates and made selections based on the list provided by the media. We later suffered at the hands of the politicians we selected while the gentrification movement was in full swing.

This election, we have a chance to change the course of history. We can make the mainstream papers bow down and take note that we are not falling for the schemes of the past. We are intelligent voters. We don’t need the press to make our selections. We will search the Web. We will read literature passed on to us. We will investigate. We will not allow directors of non-profit organizations to sell us out so that it will get funding. We will not support a candidate based on money as the criteria (a Eurocentric axiology). We will stop waiting for the revolution to be televised and come out to events to question and listen. ?It’s time to stop the madness if we really want to get ahead. Subliminal suggestion is strong if not checked. We have been conditioned to rely on the same media outlets that have poisoned our minds in the past to vote for candidates who will keep the gentrifying agenda on course.

The mainstream media ONLY mentions the names of three individuals, two of whom have not declared candidacy for the mayoral race. What do you really know about the candidates being pushed by the mainstream press? Have you investigated their pasts? What do you really know about their current lifestyles? Are you sitting home with several degrees looking for work? Were you discharged from a government job to make room for an outsider?  Have your real estate taxes skyrocketed? Has your rent increased too much but you find it difficult to find an affordable apartment? Are you about to lose your home to the city because you can’t afford to make the repairs? Are you tired of watching jobs traditionally held by Blacks being given to “illegal” immigrants that don’t pay taxes? Are you unemployed with parking tickets and fines that you can’t pay while council members exempt themselves from receiving any? Have your utility bills quadrupled in the last few years with another rate increase in the wings? Do you feel your rights were ignored when the Council refused citizens the opportunity to vote on the issue of gay marriage? Has your life improved under the current mayor and Council — absolutely not? Then why should we take the opinions of outsiders and those who seek to destroy the livelihood of the Black middle class and working poor?

Ever wondered why the declared candidates are not mentioned in this year’s mayoral race? Could it be that they are un-bought and un-bossed and the mainstream press, big business, national unions and developers don’t like this – strong Black men with opinions. Don’t let the mainstream press win again. Hope is knocking at your door, greeting you at the grocery stores and metro stops, sharing bread and fresh produce, listening to your stories, offering you a chance to end generational poverty. All you have to do is take the time to get involved.

Be a part of the revolution of change that INCLUDES Black people, not excludes them.

Valencia Mohammed is a community activist, Ward 4 resident and chief strategist for the  Leo Alexander for Mayor Campaign.