Advocacy without results is dead

Black-man-sticks-head-out-of-tent-2020-by-Johnnie-Burrell-1400x1070, Advocacy without results is dead, News & Views
In 2020, the pandemic, added to the lockout of Blacks from the economy, evicted more and more Black people onto the streets. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

by Lin Robertson

So we won the elections. What now? Black Lives Matter put a woman of color in the White House, another at the U.N., and Georgia in play also because of Stacy Abrams. 

But what about us everyday folk down here? When are we getting our vaccine? Are they going to stop shooting us down? That’s just as bad as starving us to death and letting us die. 

We are the first ones expelled from the job market, and we have no small businesses to speak of anymore. Many of us are only “essential” to serve those who can afford to stay home – and that’s if we are lucky. 

For the most part, we are dropping like flies during this pandemic. And unless somebody puts some of that stimulus cash directly into our pockets before Christmas, 2021 is not going to be pretty.

There is also a lot of talk about police reform that is supposed to be coming soon. I’ll believe it when I see it. The cop who killed George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was already let go on bail on Oct. 6. 

Oakland-mural-George-Floyd-Breonna-Taylor-2020-by-Johnnie-Burrell-1400x692, Advocacy without results is dead, News & Views
Black artists in Oakland turned the ugly boarded up windows downtown into a mural gallery, educating all who pass by. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

The 17-year-old white nationalist who felt the need to kill BLM protesters, Kyle Rittenhouse, like a hero is back at home with mom and dad for Thanksgiving. Now ain’t that a B? 

Justice-for-George-Floyd-Black-Lives-Matter-huge-nearly-all-white-crowd-2020-by-Johnnie-Burrell-1400x419, Advocacy without results is dead, News & Views
The startling sight of masses of white folks proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd” was repeated over and over around the world for months in mid-2020. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

Hell, they won’t let our people out of prison during this pandemic even if they are already old and dying with hardly any time left in this life. You have to be Manafort, Cohen or another white-collar crook to make it out in time for a presidential pardon – or a million-dollar book deal. And if you are a three-striker in the most liberal state of the union, your Black life is theirs. Mask up with prison denim, boys! 

Lil-Black-boy-sits-on-pavement-at-rally-w-Justice-for-George-Floyd-sign-2020-by-Johnnie-Burrell-1400x1355, Advocacy without results is dead, News & Views
This little boy appears not to fear the police or the future as he sits on the pavement as if he owns the street. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

You might say that I’m being negative, but just take a look at the numbers:

  • The Black unemployment rate is 78 percent higher than that for Whites throughout the USA today[i]
  • Black businesses still get less than 1 percent of the contracting opportunities in California[ii]
  • While we can’t even afford to live in “affordable housing” funded by HUD, Section 3 opportunities were just taken out because our boy Carson approved regulatory waivers last week that eliminate the requirement to reach out to workforce training, hiring and small business development candidates on HOME and other projects. The new policy goes into effect on Dec. 1 – another sweet revenge for the Trump administration[iii]
  • More than half of in-hospital deaths from COVID-19 today are Blacks and Hispanics[iv]
  • Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, 13.6 percent of African Americans that we know of had no health insurance in 2019 thanks to the repeal of the individual mandate on Obamacare two years earlier[v]
  • Black men are disproportionally arrested for drug offenses when they barely touch white men. It’s just another set up for the revolving door into the prison system[vi]
  • And like George Floyd, 17 percent of Black people who died as a result of police harm in 2019 were unarmed[vii]

Continue to speak truth to power, participate, change our culture in-house wherever we need to, and never give up.

Hope for change looms, however, because young people of all colors continued to show up to protest and demand the elimination of systemic racism. Over 80 million ballots, mailed in and delivered after waiting in line for hours long before election day, were cast to show them what we are made of.

Our ultimate weapon: the vote. People burst out and danced in the streets all over the world to celebrate the results. 

Masked-Black-woman-casts-vote-2020-by-Johnnie-Burrell, Advocacy without results is dead, News & Views
Wearing the 2020 wardrobe essential, a mask, this woman proudly casts her vote. Following decades of resistance to an electoral system rigged to devalue Black lives, Black people this year saw the necessity and voted, largely as a block, in massive numbers that elected the more progressive candidate in race after race. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

It’s time. We’re ready. But the trick is to keep in mind that an election is only one means to an end. Accountability, real performance, results – this time we want the deliverables. 

Talk is cheap, folks. Let’s not waste what we accomplished this year by giving anybody, on our side or theirs, any benefit of the doubt. 

There are actually four branches of government – not only the executive, legislative and judicial branches, but also our ally, the media, as long as they are not just feeding us spin. 

Pay attention and do what is necessary in your own way to make a change and to manifest what we want to believe in – a society that actually treats us as equals – not just in spirit, but for real. How do we do that? 

Educate and elevate ourselves. Show up and deliver results for each other as well. Continue to speak truth to power, participate, change our culture in-house wherever we need to, and never give up.

Yes, we should be excited about the new possibilities today. After all, we fought for it and the win is in. But moderation has been a letdown too often in the past. Bending over for bullies can no longer be an option.

Lin-Robertson-in-restaurant-beautiful-smile-by-Johnnie-Burrell-1400x324, Advocacy without results is dead, News & Views
Lin Robertson in restaurant, beautiful smile by Johnnie BurrellCAPTION: Lin Robertson in pre-pandemic, happier times – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

The first indication for me that change may indeed be coming, however, is Biden’s announcement that the kids caged in concentration camps are about to be set free. Barack’s new book “The Promised Land” also suggests that “Yes We Can” again. Still, let’s not just hope this time. The price is too high.

Lin Robertson began her career by launching the Aruba Foreign Investment Agency in her native Aruba, a Caribbean island nation off the coast of Venezuela. Coming to California in 1998, she worked with the San Jose Office of Equality Assurance and in 2005 founded The Labor Compliance Managers, where she is managing director. She is also senior producer for International Media TV. Lin can be reached at

[i] Douglas A. McIntyre, “Black Unemployment Rate 78% Higher Than White,” 24/7 Wall St., Sept. 8, 2020 

[ii] Fred Jordan, president of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, interview, “Blacks awarded only 1 percent of Caltrans contracts,” SF Bay View, Jan. 29, 2019

[iii] Part III of Rule by the Housing and Urban Development Department published in the Federal Register regarding waiver of New Hire requirements from Section 3 compliance requirements, Sept. 29, 2020 

[iv] Kate Larsen, “More than half of in-hospital deaths from COVID-19 are Black, Hispanic patients, Stanford study shows,” ABC 7 News, Nov. 17, 2020

[v] Matej Mikuli, “Percentage of people without health insurance in the United States from 2010 to June 2019, by ethnicity,” Statistica, Nov. 17, 2020

[vi] Michelle Alexander, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” (2012), Book Summary

[vii] Deidre McPhillips, “Deaths From Police Harm Disproportionately Affect People of Color,” U.S. News, June 3, 2020