Clarke Rallies Black Women, Bunkeddeko Nabs Times Support

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Park Slope, Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Brownsville), along with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), hosted “A Seat at the Table,” Saturday where speeches were given and panels were held that provides black women an agenda to bring people together to vote.

Meanwhile, Adem Bunkeddeko, Clarke’s challenger in the suddenly competitive Democratic Congressional Primary, received the endorsement of the New York Times and continues to relentlessly campaign.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Adem Bunkeddeko

Clarke, who stayed for about half of the two-hour meeting before excusing herself to go to another engagement, noted the location of the meeting, set in the auditorium of Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, was named after a black man.

“It is critical that we have this conversation here in Central Brooklyn,” she said.

Clarke said that after enduring years of marginalization, black women now have the opportunity to shape the legislative agenda, which begins with mobilization and voting.

“We do what we do because we know there’s a history of marginalization and abuse,” she said.

Clarke said the desire to help others goes down to the DNA of black women, emphasizing the past oppressions that her people have faced and the way they were able to overcome.

“We have to stand up for black women,” she said, “Its in our gene code.”

She called the Trump administration a backlash for electing President Obama, and that anyone can look at the policies coming from the White House and find that they are continuing the marginalization black women have been fighting against.

The discussion of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainment camps brought a big response to the crowd, who empathized with those that have been separated from their families. The Congresswoman compared the detainment camps to times of slavery.

“We are the product of family separation,” she said.

Clarke said there is a potential to switch the balance of power in Congress in the midterm elections from a Republican to Democratic majority. It can be done if people, and black women in particular, could organize in their communities and get everyone to the polls, she said.

“I am convinced we will change the dynamic in Washington D.C. in November,” she said.

The Congresswoman had a call for everyone in attendance to lift each other up in the rough times of the Trump administration and encouraged them to fight not just for themselves, but for the future generations of Central Brooklyn and beyond.

“We will empower each and everyone inspired to march for justice and equality,” she said. “It starts right now with each and every one of you.”

Meanwhile, the Times endorsement of Bunkeddeko last Thursday noted how his immigrant African refugee background from the hard-scrabble streets of Queens to Harvard to political activism was inspiring. They newspaper also noted how Clarke’s major legislative accomplishments have been far and few between in her 11-year tenure in Congress.

Bunkeddeko said he is very energized out on the campaign trail and feels the vibe on the street is swinging his way.

Meanwhile, several Brooklyn political operatives, sources and potential future candidates have told KCP they are watching this race closely.

They note while it is difficult to beat an incumbent, if Bunkeddeko manages to get at least 35 percent of the vote, it will show Clarke’s vulnerability in two years. Others see a possible upset in the making.

The primary is June 26.