thumbnail of Black Perspectives; Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus. Part 1
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
you. Barry Graham.
But we have. The Black Rock A minute later finding and brought in last year last February had been what they would have a concern that they have been they bring it to their office and that they have put that in the native language and if they want to meet with the government on whatever is
here then they go in the group have their own Amman and a network for them. The conqueror bringing together the black electorate who through the cordon of the different electoral roll that your point is a critical one. So much for that. I was down in the documents looking at the budget of the Commonwealth last year and looking at the potman it impossible to be able to coordinate all of that amount of time and moving
through the doing of the feedback that I've gotten that the significant impact of the Black Caucus on the community has been overwhelming. Having it not having it empowered a lot of people that I've never been experienced for. And I was doing the critical thing that happened here for a minute if I can to one of the people who was elected to serve on the body or not but they that let me be FM at the University of Matthew that Boston had the black perspective and they were talking with founder Graham of the Black Caucus and Robert the executive director of the caucus founder I think that not only people who know you I think that you that we are the type of leadership that you've
been providing and it was on the question in providing that community colleges are particularly concerned about. Ask the open to all the through higher education and know that not only you that you've been focusing on but it has become a key one for the black Linda cotton and I think that you're providing the leadership and direction that all of a political weapon to be for the thing what you're doing with it you can and maybe you might want to pose a little bit about how are you sort of setting the agenda and providing the overall leadership for the dynamic group of people when we get very hard really you have personality people who represent different views and when you have that kind of dynamic working for you it is not very good with the people of their own persuasion to talk about policy that is going to impact.
Third World people and poor people throughout the commonwealth. Well and women that we all come from different places where we want to go but we come from different places. I'm more radical probably than the rest of the caucus member than though I have a pending on head on where other caucus members would like to probably sit back and do it in a very diplomatic way. So even dial of Representatives are different than coordinating. It's very hard and I get very aggravated at times and times we sail on but what we try to do is that the power that we are the Paul of the thetan Betty Robinson our executive director is the implementer of those policies and so we begin to look at the agenda and begin to set out priorities because our role with the laws and incompetent because Third World people and poor people really have no lobby power
in the legislature to fight for them. The Black Caucus has become that power that rallying point by where people of color and poor people begin to address the issues because they can't afford to pay a lobby or $350000 Kolob even if you through the legislature and through the budgetary process. Now there are two prot the fear wanted the legislative process by which you file your bill the first one in the in November that pick on a nonprofit and then have open hearings to the public and more. What I call a governmental than anything else. They go through a process that rigid in all that and then you have your budgetary profit which is the most important profitable mine ever and we began that process by the governor admitting how one with the budget that comes to the house and in doing that it
goes to the House Ways and Means and they begin to look at the programs and how much the programs are going to cost. And then it comes to the floor of the house which we have an opportunity as a legislator to put in our piece and then to go through the same process in the Senate side and they're going to the bone sitting there to protect that interest. So what we deal with we fight basically and we talk and we negotiate and we lobby and we make sure that the programs that have the greatest impact in our community get into the budget and get funded at a level that they can operate. So we're we're we're always very busy. We hardly gather except that the minute we have without knowing every can at 2 o'clock so we can say uniformed with what with one another to see what one another is doing and see where our bills are and to see whether or not we have made any impact in the budgetary process. So it's very important that all of that every week to discuss that we have Hadi to attack we have education and with the
admission of standard words one of the big problems and I that came in admission standards that were the vote come for poor people and people of color and also I that came a report of the Bessel legislative report on education on the education community in terms of how do we deal with education on the lower levels from care. Well we get the most important. Anybody book after you get to a level of college you should be able to read and write for the back of your own name and we found out a lot of our children didn't even know how to do that on a graduation level of the 12th grade. So that was a very hot very important if you are the Black Caucus. And that if you were the black caucus the housing. There is not an open housing market for people of color in the Commonwealth. And because of that we have to put into place the housing piece of legislation which will penalize those found discriminating against third world people and
women with children. The logic piece of legislation and if you come into the legislature you will find that a lot of the reps do not want the kind of restriction on them because they may be involved in the real estate market on a minute that obviously is one of the proper conflict that you have to deal with and you have a powerful real a lobby who have a minute amount of wealth and power that a small group of people who are thing but try to put a current in front of the power to protect the interests of people whom you have home to live in and I think often have a vacancy rate of about two and a half percent rent for a guy rocking a condo in a very it took us almost five years to get a condo conversion bill through that would protect the people in their apartment so they can get evicted. I mean you got abandoned buildings that need to be redone. There is no money in the third world community in terms of rehabilitation. Then
there are some for profit in the third world community in the poor community. So we have to deal with all of those pieces of legislation. I've been on the Housing and Urban Development Committee in which we put out one hundred ninety six million dollars into some program that will hopefully build more low and moderate income housing for those working class people who are having a tough time surviving in the Commonwealth. That a lot of them a lot of Boeing and I mean we really don't have the other legislative to say hey look. You know look on the other side of the mountain there are poor people in the Commonwealth. And we have to thank you and the poor people there are people working class people who want gas making it in the Commonwealth and we have to provide them affordable housing so we we have to we are really really confident of the legislation and we bring up the few that the large letter played here by in large does not want to
talk about they don't want to talk about welfare everything because they don't want to talk about how the poor they don't want to talk about those who serve in the program but whether they are the macula that they talk about I'm on the floor of the legislature and we're there to lobby our colleagues that they're not there. Americans are there not everything in the role of the out there. The press would like people to believe. But when we look underneath the surface we find that working class people are not working well with the lack of flavor. That must take care of all of us that have been not there the privileged and the few that what we do play by the lack of we talk about God and wanted there would not have been any sum of money we put in the budget. One million dollars for someone new employment program. Had we not done that it would have never gotten the budget a form of milking representative Malkin what hard and long for you baby.
We made sure that that money within the budget for all of the common law not good for the poor or the friend but for all of you. The deal with like death of women on welfare month camped out here you poor beggar them we don't want you want to walk where and when. And we're not going to pay for that and not provide them somewhere to put their children while they go out to work. Men don't understand men who have wives don't understand that. And the legislator. Overwhelmingly men who have women home. Why then are the children. So what we have to do a public relation kind of thing one here and we go into the bigger the house and we think the bigger We know that. Well then you know that women need their home and thank their the government and we think of the bigger you can have it both ways.
Now we allow what they have here or you pay for them on welfare because there's only one parent in the family. We have a wife with your for children. Therefore you don't be a necessity but add more and more women get into the job market. Now care have become one of those in Lebanon. If you begin to become one of the priorities to come and we deal with that we deal with back to terms of how it impacts the poor how it impacts the elderly and deal with the elderly in terms of the kind of program that a lot of the provide will help those who are serving. We deal with all of that though. Along again but the making sure that we take them one on one. We go through the legislature for each one of us of the Black Caucus have a priority in our
priorities and we coming through for when we go with it and we get with the minority party. Graham we go with the black program and we were very successful and I think the black department will be happy or delighted that they have long thought through the black and also have their black race so they can hire qualified people and that more can be that the president of the Black Studies program that we fought very hard in fact given ABA the black faculty and we got it and it paid in the budget and it was fine in the law. So we deal with all of the level. And wonder why we're crazy you know with that impact that one
of them with what you're paying for many of you that you're talking about. So critical of the black yet the black community is not the only benefit here. The effort that the Black Caucus. The two I think that there are people in the greater band of the significantly which is why we're trying to highlight some of the Black Lives and identifying a concern that the only people in wealthier people are women. In fact the problem with the urban problem is an urban problem at the caucus providing an address for the making the people who are making
to the level that traditionally who have had problems have not been the most motivated in that but are now ready to go to college happen to graduate from that while there are a lot of them. Family that don't want to go to the cost of an education no expense that their parents have to rethink how their children are going to get it. And in view of that the reason we fought that and record that it was the hard one because it even eliminated the working class people living out in the suburbs who want to go to UMass Boston because they can't afford a Harvard or MIT you. We tried to keep the door open for everybody not just for people of color but for everybody so that they may get an education both who live in a suburb under
than that the programs that are available because we are also available for them. Somehow they don't relate it that way. But we also fight for more money going here. Let me go on and for the audience that you're listening to the universe that the black with the black with cotton and with rather than the executive director of the mouth of the black car. I think it's clear to anyone listening to what you're talking about that that the Black Caucus an important dynamic in the loop if they cannot do it because of the standing for an issue that it's fighting for because we're giving a voice to a group of people who have good and bad of the
of the political process. I mean I don't think that it. Anyone that that blacks have been for the most part ever from the meager power the mainstream of the commonwealth of own we have been here. But there haven't been enough. The Piper put them in an environment that that being pushed through by the black leadership of Congress right now is really critical for the Commonwealth. Let me ask you the question that I'm sure than most people of mine which is that other elected official in the car. Seriously I mean do they the public out the theory either ignoring or are they giving you more of an opportunity that the the layout the movement the influence that the whole policy arena. Well let me make people very
vote that we fight for the radically. At one time did not take the Black Caucus very but the Black Caucus and the whole black Senate and we have a black Senate big one a black caucus became a viable bank and there were no black there would not black Senate gerrymandered the black community that a black could not win that seat. So when they first claim on what they did was a viable strategy by which they could win a black Senate and they lobbied very hard and they put a lot of pressure on a lot of different representatives from across the commonwealth. The path that the lead the way that was in and not for the Black Caucus often could keep people together the
black market often have to do the research for us to do it. Now let the pros and cons of the legislation and the thing on top of an ethical war make people that we could meet after the hour right Representative. Oh how representative I'm going to vote so that we could go after that representative from that and that this is the reason why we are there. Not even from my way our of the evening trying to get our packages together trying to get our if you gather them back to report back to the black caucus to make sure that all of that stuff is being done so we're really we're really cool and if you look at the legislation in the Commonwealth it because the Black Caucus put it there. The regular ballot back in 1965 with them had a ball with legs like that. He put it into proper long time ago so that
we would have been for example we have been successful in stopping legislation that adversely impact every people in the Commonwealth. And it impacts it impacts us but it also impacts many other people who are not organized to fight for them. White women weren't in it. Common law I'm fighting for better things than the criminal gangs of how they deal with them or I'm a member of the women in the workplace and we do a lot of good. The black caucus is very important for what could be on top of all that with a generally well women but I think that. Whenever we have to enter We have found that the time goes by very
quickly. I think that the overview that you've given on what the purpose and direction and growth of the Black Caucus was absolutely excellent and quite informative and I think the audience got a better perspective of how the caucus and why the quacker exist thunder I think. And I commend them while you can because you obviously have an awful lot of energy and a lot of very excellent idea that the weapon. And more importantly that thing that has an excellent go about doing something about them. I want to thank both of you for coming in here and with some time. To talk about the black agenda that you have I know that. But at any time to get away from that and then with time talking with them. I'd like to go that night. You've been listening to black the next week will be interviewing another member from the Black Caucus. And I
Black Perspectives
Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus. Part 1
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
WUMB (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/345-86b2rmc1).
Part one of a series on the Mass. Black Legislative Caucus featuring guests state Rep. Saundra Graham, caucus chair; and Betty Robinson, caucus executive director. Graham and Robinson discuss the founding and history of the caucus, Graham's responsibilities as chair, the caucus's priorities and legislative advocacy on issues including housing, childcare for working mothers, education, and poverty; and the perception of the Black Legislative Caucus within the Statehouse.
Black Perspectives is a public affairs talk show featuring in depth conversations about issues of interest to the African American community.
Asset type
Talk Show
Race and Ethnicity
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
No copyright statement in the content.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Copyright Holder: WUMB-FM
Guest: Graham, Saundra
Guest: Robinson, Betty
Host: Pierre Louis, Gary
Host: Desmond, Charles
Producing Organization: WUMB
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: BP33-1984 (WUMB)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Generation: Original
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Black Perspectives; Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus. Part 1,” 1984-11-07, WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020,
MLA: “Black Perspectives; Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus. Part 1.” 1984-11-07. WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <>.
APA: Black Perspectives; Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus. Part 1. Boston, MA: WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from