Greenwood (North Tulsa)

African American Federation Approved by Local Democratic Party Committees: Interview with Canada Ali

Opinion|Orisabiyi Williams

The Democratic Party lost its message and African Americans throughout the nation have lost faith in the Democratic Party.  African Americans have unique issues such as police brutality and the school to prison pipeline that has led to the loss of generations to the prison industrial complex under both parties’ leadership, including the Democrats.

In 2008, America elected it’s first African American president, President Barack Obama. During his 2012 reelection campaign, Obama told Black Enterprise Magazine, “I want all Americans to have opportunity. I’m not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America.”

Many African Americans have said, “He has to say that!” But the country’s first black president distanced himself from the issues that affect the livelihoods and lives of African Americans.

In North Tulsa,  specifically, there is a disconnect between the black community and the local Democratic Party. Because of this disconnect, community activists, including Ali Canada founded the African American Federation to bring attention to issues that affect the African American community within the Democratic Party.

Canada, who is originally from Detroit, found his way to Tulsa working as a Regional Organizer with Moveon.org. I spoke with Canada about the African American Federation and its future.

BWST: What is role of the African American Federation?

Canada: The role of the African American Federation is to help black elected officials with fundraising and voter outreach in minority neighborhoods. That was not happening in the Democratic Party.

BWST: Do you feel that the Democratic Party could do more to help African Americans on social issues and in the party?

Canada: Yes they can. The Party frowns on black leadership, they don’t look at us for leadership. We barely get help from the Democratic Party, they don’t help black elected officials like they do white elected officials. There is racism in the Democratic Party.

BWST: When did you become active in the Democratic Party and what is your position now in the Democratic Party?

Canada: I have been active in The Democratic Party since I was 5 years old. My parents would take me to meetings and were very active in their community. I was a Union Representative in Detroit for the Ford Motor Company. I retired and came to live in Tulsa. I am on the Affirmative Action Committee and Chair in The African American Federation.

BWST: What can we do as African Americans to help make the Democratic Party serve our needs better?

Canada: To get involved. It’s not that many of us involved. Strength comes in numbers and show them that we are serious and get more African American leadership in the Democratic Party but we have to get involved.

If you want to find out ways to get involved in the Tulsa Democratic Party follow this link to their website: http://tulsacountydemocrats.org/, or the Party’s national website: https://www.democrats.org/.