Monserrate Thou Art Judas Not Jesus

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[Open Letter To Hiram Monserrate]

Although, I was told that you, Hiram Monserrate, were once a registered Republican, I knew you as my comrade in the struggle at City Hall, one of the more progressive City Council Members. 

What happened to you, my brother? Did you go up to Albany and lose your mind? Or was there something always there that would cause you to bring such shame and embarrassment to us as a people?

The move you and Pedro Espada made, to give the predominately white male Republicans the majority vote 32 to 30 over the real majority Democrats brought chaos, confusion and national embarrassment to the Senate.

More importantly, it clearly demonstrates that the two of you could care less about the people’s agenda. It was all about your personal agenda. Hiram, I always knew you loved media attention and had a little opportunistic streak in you, but I never thought you would go this far.

Hiram you must be held responsible and accountable for this madness. I don’t know, some say they expected that of Espada, but not of you. If you didn’t go with Espada to the Republicans, none of this could have happened. Espada couldn’t have offered the Republicans a 31 to 31 split, because that would not have changed anything. He needed you, Hiram to make the difference. Even though you came back, it’s not redemptive, the damage was already done.

By the way, you brought back 30 Republicans with you. Now, with the 31 to 31 split, they have the leverage to negotiate for power sharing.  What were you thinking? Lest you forget, remember the Republicans were in power of the Senate for 40 years. You know what happens when a party is in power, they get the perks, pork, chairs, the capital money, the program money, the bigger offices, more staff and control of the legislative agenda; you know the deal.

Well the Republicans did that for forty years. Now the Democrats get control and select chairs, leadership, control the legislative agenda, and all the rest that goes with that and you give it back to the Republicans, many who are racists and who can care less about our communities.

Let me hurry up and say I am a registered Democrat for tactical and strategic reasons.  I am truly Independent. While, there are other parties registered in the state this system that’s dominated by two parties is not working for our communities. Sometimes it’s a case of hustlers hustling hustlers and I wish the Lord would send the plague on both their houses.

Sometimes I think its one party that should be called the “Republicrats”.  But having said that the Democrats are still marginally better than the Republicans and the majority of Blacks and Latinos are registered Democrats.

While, I have my criticism of the First Black Governor of NY state, Governor David Paterson and the first Black Majority Leader of the Senate Malcolm Smith, you can’t possibly believe that Senators Skelos and Espada would be better for the Black and Latino community.

Hiram, to see two Latinos trying to take down Black Leadership and give it back to the predominately white male Republican leadership is a betrayal of trust and a disgrace to our communities. Hiram you must know that Blacks and Latinos had some very tense and challenging moments in our history.

Remember, in 1977, when Percy Sutton ran for Mayor against three white candidates Abe Beam, Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch. Victory was in our sights and then Herman Badillo, a Latino threw his hat in the ring and Sutton lost.

Remember, in 1985, when the Black Coalition for a Just New York was ready to endorse Herman Badillo for Mayor against Ed Koch and Denny Farrell from Harlem threw his hat in the ring and Badillo was out. Tense conflicting moments in our history. 

Fortunately, the masses of Blacks and Latinos have fonder memories of our historical unity. They remember the Young Lords Party and the Black Panther Party Unity. They remember the unity around the David Dinkins for Mayor Campaign, which gave us the first Black Mayor of NYC.

They remember the unity around Freddy Ferrer’s Campaign for Mayor. They remember Rev. Al Sharpton spent time in jail with his Latino brothers supporting, the people of Vieques.

Stop the Bombing, remember? The masses remember the Black and Latino unity, that produced the first Black President of the USA Barack Obama. Remember, Hiram in unity there’s strength.

They say that when you returned to the Democrats at Rev. Sharpton’s National Action Network rally you compared yourself to Jesus. Many feel the Judas comparison is more appropriate.

Hiram, I truly feel you betrayed us. I don’t believe you understand the depth, breath and the profundity of the possibly irreversible damage you’ve caused. People are already mistrustful of politics and politicians. You validated their feelings.

It was very difficult and painful for me to write this letter. But, the truth must be told. I don’t believe you and Espada will stop the masses of Blacks and Latinos from uniting and working together in the future.

My hope is that we will have long memories come the 2010 elections and do the right thing and elect new leadership that prioritizes the people over the party. The struggle may be long but our victory is certain.



Council Member Charles Barron is Chair of the Higher Education Committee

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