Tuesday at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem, Dr. Lenora Fulani held a news conference to recommend what she felt were the two best choices for New York State governor. Recommending Freedom Party Candidate Charles Barron and Andrew Cuomo, who is also running on the Independent ticket as well as Democrat, Fulani felt that these two candidates would advance independent politics and “Black empowerment.”
As a founder of the Independence Party of New York, Fulani has promoted the political entity’s causes for two-plus decades. Looking for another option for politically minded Black folks, Fulani believes that the key to challenging the current two-party dominance is investing in independence. “It is a vehicle to challenge the partisan and corrupt self-interests of the state’s Democratic and Republican parties and bring reform to our judicial system, which is so desperately needed,” said Fulani.
While Barron and Fulani have been at odds with each other in the past, Fulani believes that Barron’s mission is a noble one. “Heaven knows, New York State needs as many independent voices to speak out for poor people and disenfranchised people as we can get,” she said. “So I welcome Charles Barron’s entry into independent politics and his bid to create the Freedom Party.”
Fulani also pontificated on the stronghold that the Democratic Party has on Black voters. It’s the main reason why she advocates for something outside of the major two-party system.
“The proposition that Black people can exercise political independence and wield greater power as a result has been resisted strongly by many in the political establishment, particularly in the Democratic Party establishment, and even within the Independence Party itself,” said Fulani. “The State Independence Party leadership believed so strongly that Black people had no place in independent politics that they tried to throw all of us out. We successfully blocked those efforts and the New York City Independence Party, which is now, in effect, autonomous from the state party, has continued to grow in size and strength, including in the Black community.”
According to Fulani, of the close to 800,000 non-aligned independents in New York City, 20 percent are African-American. In the United States, 30 percent of African-Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 consider themselves independent.
“I have long been convinced that the American people–Black, Latino, Asian, white–if given the chance, will make better choices,” said Fulani. “We have two good choices this year to make it happen.”