Former Cleveland Mayor Mike White appeared last week at an event hosted by the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF).
Richard Andrews, for the Real Deal Press, wrote about White's appearance in detail. The full video of White's conversation with BPACF president Ronald Johnson, followed by an audience Q&A, is available above.
White spoke about his own political awakening, about the Cleveland Public School system, about the city's future, and even about his tumultuous experiences with the loss and re-acquisition of the Cleveland Browns.
In a question about national leadership (~15:00), White wasn't shy about voicing his views on the Trump administration.
"Anybody who believes that there isn't a 21st century kind of lynching going on, they really need to go check themselves pretty closely," he said. "This time, instead of just lynching black people, they're lynching Hispanics, they're lynching Arabs, they're lynching anybody who doesn't look like them. We have to recognize it and we have to be willing to fight it at all levels."
White noted that the most insidious elements of the Trump presidency were the policy rollbacks occurring every day that are overshadowed in the news cycle by the daily soap operas of the White House.
Later, in response to an audience question about opportunities for younger African-Americans (~35:30), White said one of the most painful moments of his life was recognizing that his children would have to fight the same battles he fought. The battlefield, White said, was merely a bit more high-tech, with the foes less "in-your-face." He said African-Americans couldn't lose focus, even as they penetrated institutions, on pursuing economic footholds in Cleveland and in the United States.
White now spends his days as a farmer — a farmer! — making wine and rescuing horses, but still does some consulting work for the Mandel Foundation. White was rumored to have been an organizing force behind the Cleveland Forward Political Action Committee, which flooded Mayor Frank Jackson's campaign with last-minute cash in order to ensure the crushing defeat of opponent Zack Reed in November.
Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...