As reported in the September 14th issue of La Prensa, Baldemar Velásquez (president and co-founder of FLOC) is no novice at bringing people together for a common cause. On September 8th, Velásquez and FLOC reached out to leaders of Toledo’s African-American and Latino communities, to begin a healing process and forge a united front to assist the respective communities’ candidates, on the ballot November 8th.
At this junta, Mayor Jack Ford—who is up for re-election against a formidable opponent, Carty Finkbeiner, former mayor of Toledo—committed to endorsing all minority candidates in this year’s election, including: Robert Torres (Toledo Board of Education), Lourdes Santiago (Toledo Municipal Court judge), and Bob Vásquez (Toledo City Council, At-Large).
According to Ford (www.fordformayor.com), “There are some grievances that some have that won’t be resolved. I’ve strived for 15 years to find unity between black and brown.”
“Unequivocally, I will support all black and brown candidates who are running for office. We need to do what is right and to focus on this goal. Our similarities are greater than our differences. We have a tough campaign, the Democratic Party is splintered. But the past slate is clean and we are going to move forward and I hope all eyes and minds are clear as to where I’m coming from,” Ford added.
Velásquez followed the mayor’s endorsement of all the city’s candidates of color by asking for a similar show of support from the audience, which was composed in part of virtually all of the black and brown candidates for office.
“I want to ask all of the African-American candidates—and public officials—in the room to stand up,” he said. After a sizeable number of the audience rose, Velásquez said: “I want to ask the Latinos in the room ‘are you willing to support these candidates?’”
A rousing applause and chorus of “yes” answered the FLOC chief’s question. He then performed a similar exercise with the Latino politicians and received a similarly enthusiastic response from the African-American members of the audience.