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Forums to Examine Presidential Race's Impact on Minorities

Activists are worried that this presidential election could send the issue of civil rights back in time. (Veronica Carter)
Activists are worried that this presidential election could send the issue of civil rights back in time. (Veronica Carter)
April 7, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – With all the attention on this year's presidential race, many people say its outcome could have a negative effect on particular communities.

Merry Green calls herself an activist for the rights of African American women, and she says efforts to level the playing field for non-whites could suffer setbacks depending on the outcome of the November election.

Green says she thought things would improve during Barack Obama's time in the Oval Office, but instead, her feeling is that it made some people fight harder to oppress black Americans.

"You can see now what’s happening in this presidential election, that things have not changed very much,” she states. “It's very disturbing to African Americans.

“We're just done with this. We can't believe we're back here. We can't believe that we're still talking about this – that we still have to fight the same issues that our parents and grandparents fought."

Green is the founder of The Black Women's Expo, which is being held Friday through Sunday in Chicago.

She says people from across the country attend the expos, which also are held in Atlanta and Washington.

Green adds one certain topic at this year's Expo will be the political campaigns, which she describes as "very brutal and very racist," so far.

"And anyone that says it's not, you know, really needs to listen up and see what's going on,” she states. “When someone says, 'If I don't get the nomination there's going to be riots?' I mean, we couldn't say that and get away with it. It's a bad scene right now."

Green adds while the civil rights movement brought a lot of change, it's clear that society has a long way to go in terms of equal treatment and how people view each other.

"What people do when they see you coming, how people react when they see you in elevators,” she points out. “It happens to black women just as black men. When we go into department stores, you can see who's watching us. We don't make it up, you know. We get stopped, we get profiled."

This year's Black Women's Expo theme is #shematters, and Green hopes people take that message to heart.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD