You can’t imagine how happy I was to see in today’s Zionsville Times Sentinel that the Town Council created an Anti-Discrimination Committee. It’s “…a committee that would review any allegations of discrimination and protect businesses and individuals from false claims of discrimination.” The committee will be comprised 5 members, there will be 3 members of the Town Council and the other 2 members will be either residents or business owners in Zionsville. I usually try to stay away from the heavy lifting with my blog posts. But in this instance I have to go a tad on the weighty side of things. I want to tell you about why I think I’d be a pretty good choice for the committee.
I’m a graduate of Pike High School, which is LITERALLY ON ZIONSVILLE ROAD, and until a shot at launching a small coffee company at the Zionsville Farmers Market; I’d only been to Zionsville twice. Going to Zionsville was just a NO, NO. Sad but true. Like it or not, it’s just how things were. Funny thing, 20 years from then, a member of the most discriminated against group of people in the U.S. has a business, on the corner of Main Street, right in the center of town. Says a lot about how far along things have come in Zionsville.
I am a Black Man with a college degree (we make on average less than our white counterparts with a high school degree) and I’ve been in trouble with the law (it legally allows some employers to discriminate against me). With a black man in the White House, the rate of unemployment for black men is at its highest rate ever. Overt discrimination is rare. It’s the subtle, the unintended, subconscious instances that can become tortuous over the course of a day. As a member of the McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch Settlement, I’ve dealt with discrimination as an institution. Some days require a Herculean amount of effort, cautious actions or words, that even the most well-dressed, well-educated black man must exercise to not startle, offend or to attract undue attention. (Look up Dr. Boyce Watkins recount one experience out of many.) As a large black man, I have to be that much more aware. It takes a certain level of experience to achieve that level of mental toughness. Yes it’s silly. Yes it’s despicable. Of course it’s unfair. But for me, it’s just exhausting.
No, I’m not about to beat you over the head with statistics about how bad things are, have, were or possibly will be for the Black Man. I love being a black man, with all of the “statistics”, that’s embraced by the Town of Zionsville.
Zionsville is where I started my business, me, Mrs. D and the kids, all of the family selling coffee, laughing and enjoying meeting new friends. Zionsville is home to the ONLY MBE Certified Coffee Company in Indiana. Yes, I’ve been discriminated against. Yes I can attest to the looks, the difficulties, hurdles, undue attention for misdeeds, HURDLES AGAIN, pretty much all of the difficulties that you could imagine. And guess what. I’m still standing, arm in arm with people from the very same community. As a black merchant in Zionsville, I don’t know many more people that are as uniquely qualified to have an objective conversation about discrimination as me.
I hope that this go-round I can be that voice that loves Zionsville that can bring the experience dealing with discrimination to Zionsville’s new Anti-Discrimination Committee. I’d be a pretty good pick. I’m just sayin’.