01/03/2024

Post-Partisan Solutions with NAACP Oakland’s Seneca Scott

Seneca Scott is a cousin of the late Coretta Scott King, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s wife. Following his family’s legacy of service, Seneca is a former candidate for Mayor of Oakland, CA; the founder of a non-profit called Neighbors Together Oakland; a member of NAACP Oakland; and a successful community organizer. Stripping away the veneer of his notable family lineage, Seneca shares his vision for post-partisan leadership where politicians pursue policies that result in thriving neighborhoods and empowered citizens, regardless of which party promotes them.

Seneca describes himself as a “post-partisan solutionary,” and he discusses how progressive policies have contributed to rising crime and homelessness. In contrast, he shares post-partisan solutions for addressing these issues, as well as moving past fear-based “victim mentalities” to becoming courageous and empowered.

This discussion rises above politics, tackling the controversial issues of police funding, public safety, and homelessness. Seneca’s experiences as both a community advocate and candidate for Mayor provide a rare, dual perspective on the trials and tribulations of Oakland’s community.

Rounding off our conversation, we spotlight Seneca’s Neighbors Together Oakland initiative, working towards hope and unity in a time of division and unrest. Join us as we not only confront difficult issues, but also invite individuals to become part of the solution for more revitalized, cohesive communities.

Seneca Scott has been interviewed by various members of the media, including Tucker Carlson and Megyn Kelly. If you’re looking for inspiration from an effective community change agent, you won’t want to miss this episode!

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Show Transcript

Kelly Tshibaka: 0:09
Welcome to another episode of Stand. This is your weekly workout regimen to become a thought warrior. Here in this show, we’re going to get to learn from courageous and compassionate Americans who are change agents in their communities, their neighborhoods and their cities. I’m Kelly Tshibaka and I’m joined by my wonderful husband and Niki, Chebacca. He always has my back. Thank you, hun. We’re so glad to have you today. Join our community of standouts. Subscribe to our show at the Stand Show on YouTube. You can also find us on social media under Kelly for Alaska, and always online on our website, standshoworg. If you leave a review for the show this week, you’ll be entered to win a free sticker from our show Stand. So make sure to leave a review and remember to invite a friend to join our community of standouts, where we stand firm and stand strong together. Today we’re going to have a really interesting discussion with our guest, seneca Scott. Seneca is a graduate of Cornell University and, besides having an incredibly cool name, he’s also a cousin of the late Coretta Scott King, the wife of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, in keeping with his family’s incredible legacy of service. Seneca is a successful community organizer, a former candidate for the mayor of Oakland, california and a founder of a nonprofit group called Neighbors Together Oakland, seneca does this really cool thing. He describes himself as a post-partisan solutionary. I hope you’re as intrigued about that as I am. He’s been interviewed by various local and national media personalities, including Megan Kelly and Tucker Carlson, and it’s such a privilege to have you on the show today, seneca. Thank you for being here and welcome to stand. Thank, you.

Seneca Scott: 2:07
I’m very excited to be here and I can’t wait to chat with you both today.

Niki Tshibaka: 2:12
Yes, seneca, I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for a while. We’ve got a lot of ground we want to cover today, but before we go any further, we can’t miss the opportunity to talk about your unique family background. As a cousin of the late Coretta Scott King, the wife of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, you’re a member of one of our nation’s most distinguished families. Can you talk a little bit about how that legacy has shaped and impacted your life and work? Do you have any fun stories about the Coretta Scott side of the family? We’d love to hear those too.

Kelly Tshibaka: 2:50
Yeah.

Seneca Scott: 2:52
It has impacted my life tremendously but ironically it’s not something that I came public with until very recently. It was the statue that was erected of Martin and Coretta in Boston by the Embrace Boston Foundation that led me to write an op-ed about the statue. And then that’s how everyone in Oakland found out that I was related to Coretta because I never mentioned it during my run for city council or mayor. I never mentioned it when I was a labor union leader 10 years ago in the city, mostly just because it wasn’t my legacy and, as proud as I was of it, I wanted to go out and do my own work and not give me favoritism or proceed favoritism because of my family’s status. So it’s not something that I was public with, but it has inspired me from a very young age to be of service to my community. I went to college school of industrial labor relations at Cornell University, became a union organizer right out of college, did that for a while and they went right from there to being a community organizer because I saw that that was something that was more urgently needed. As our families and communities, I’ve been disintegrating the book into my society. Being the elders and our children have fallen and we’re collapsing along with it. So I saw more urgent work to build multiracial, multi-class coalition, which ironically ends up being right where Martin was some 60 years ago. I have one fun story for you. If you want me to tell you, it’ll be about two minutes, please. So my father tells me a great story about when him and Coretta because it became a dutch together. Now, obviously, coretta was an adult. My father was 30 years old. That means that all of us have been born. I have three siblings, two brothers and a sister.

Niki Tshibaka: 4:54
So he had four children.

Seneca Scott: 4:56
He was a young man himself. Now Coretta’s family. Coretta is my grandfather’s niece. Her father, over Diaskar, is my grandfather’s older brother. They were very close and many people don’t notice, but Martin married up. Coretta’s family was absolute land-owning family and we had a lot of property and wealth and so we would travel to each other’s estates. When Coretta and the family would come to Ohio, to Cleveland, they would stay at my grandfather’s property, and when we would travel to Georgia and Atlanta they would stay at the King’s property. So my father was in Atlanta. He had one of them, old super-aid recorders People used to record where, like in a one-year era type thing, and my father is a photographer by trade. So he’s running around and recording everyone, coretta and all the elders I say elders I mean they’re talking about women in their right, black women ranging from, you know, 40s to 60s, maybe older, and there’s a kitchen full of women. And he’s running through with the camera and Dexter follows him and he says to Coretta Mom, bobby’s got a camera like I want, I want that camera that Bobby has. And Coretta turns to the woman and he says this is our problem. My grown son is actually his mother for a camera. When I raised another young man right through stage. Now, for some perspective, coretta was a single mother with the most of her children’s life. As iconic as she was, she was a single mother. She never married. There was no male figure in their house who could feel a gap left by the great Dr King. So there were other female figures around, but not directly in the household. Like many single-parent households, they had similar struggles in terms of leadership with her son. So my father stayed in the kitchen with this camera like a fly on a wall because he knew the rules If he said anything he’s going to kick him out. So he stayed there and they allowed him to stay and he witnessed their conversation and he stayed there for about 45 minutes. After he left, coretta stopped him in the hallway and says Bobby, you’ve got children right. He says do y’all have four children? And they sat and they talked about their children for 30, 40 minutes in that hallway. And our children he had been a child to her. He buried so many kids in my family. My father’s one of seven or six. You lose count. I mean we just got cousins everywhere. So you kind of remember people which don’t really I see them as equals as adults. And after that conversation, when they talked about faith and raising a family and I had to talk about my mother and challenges as a father and raising three sons, asking him for advice on his own peers A beautiful moment that he shared with me. I never heard that story until six months ago, but to me that’s the coolest story I’ve ever heard about my family and Coretta because it shows it, humanizes her and shows the tremendous struggle she went through to her as a family.

Niki Tshibaka: 8:18
And she was a tremendously strong woman. We can’t forget that everything Dr King accomplished he couldn’t have accomplished without her. So it’s amazing just to hear of that family connection and to see that the legacy of love and service lives on and continues through the generations. And that’s just amazing. You know, you’ve described yourself as neither conservative nor progressive anymore. You don’t believe that the left or the right have all those solutions to the many issues that are plaguing our communities, but that we can work together to find them to that end. On that vein, you have described yourself as a postpartisan solutionary. Kelly referred to that in the introduction. A postpartisan solutionary. I love the sound of that, but what exactly does it mean? What is a postpartisan solutionary, seneca?

Seneca Scott: 9:18
I’m glad you asked me Postpartisan. Solutionary means that I don’t go left or right, I go up down, even if you have integrity or you don’t. When you look at our two parties, they are coalescing into a very dangerous uniparty of sorts where they’re completely aligned when it comes to any interest of the elite and they’re leaving behind the masses of Americans who are not identifying with either party. But, as a matter of fact, if you check the numbers, more people identify as independent than either party, because it’s almost two to one, like people who identify with a particular political party. And so that’s been what I mean by that. And solutionaries means that we’re here to have a solution. Leadership is action, not position. We need solutions to our current issues. Some of these issues we’re facing are, for one of the age of consequences from our own sense. Some of them are just nature. There is no security in nature One of my favorite quotations from Helen Keller. I usually remember that what security? There you go. Security is largely a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a grand adventure or nothing, and so I want people to get out of that binary way of thinking, because they’re using it to distract us. And if you look at what is this paradigm start, most people can’t even tell you what a left-right paradigm started, so I choose you know where the left-right paradigm started at.

Niki Tshibaka: 10:53
I can’t think of a specific date. No.

Seneca Scott: 10:57
It was the French Revolution.

Kelly Tshibaka: 10:59
Interesting.

Seneca Scott: 11:00
Now we don’t have time in a segment to go through, but until the French Revolution there was no left or right. That was a political spectrum born of that movement and we’ve followed it since. So it’s problematic. It’s been used to control us and I think it’s time we jettison those titles and be team human and do things that are best for our families and our communities and our neighborhoods.

Kelly Tshibaka: 11:26
That’s right. Okay, it’s time to take a break there. We’ll be back after our break with Seneca Scott, former candidate for mayor of Oakland, california, to hear more about being a postpartisan solutionary. Remember to follow us on YouTube at the stand show. Leave a review on your favorite podcast platform and you’ll be entered to win a sticker from stand this week. We’ll be back after this. Make sure to stand by. Welcome back to stand. We’re here with Seneca Scott, former candidate for mayor of Oakland, california and a strong community leader. Seneca, we’re so glad you’re here. Niki and I are all about bringing about effective solutions to the many challenges that we face in our communities, our city and our nation. You’ve got a lot of experience doing this. We believe, like you, we need to move past partisanship and into partnership. We need to get back to listening to each other and learning from each other, getting to dialogue to find actual solutions, getting past demonization into things that actually help the community. So we would like to learn from you on this. As a postpartisan solutionary, what are your thoughts on how we can begin to shift focus away from standing apart and towards standing together, the path that leads from partisanship to partnership and solving community problems? How do we actually do that?

Seneca Scott: 13:00
Well, there’s a couple different approaches. First is to actually organize an approach. When it comes to organizing people, there’s a methodology, there’s a flow. First is to educate, then you educate, then you organize. People who skip to education without education are seeking to create zealous and cult followers. That’s what you saw with the Black Lives Matter and Antifa Uprising in 2020. There’s very little education about intersystemic issues, but a direct move to emotion. So we need to educate people around local politics, how local policies and these lowest level elected offices affect their daily lives more than anything. And the fact that every single election is indeed local would be one exception of the United States, president, because even your senators and Congress people are elected from neighborhoods. So we need to go out and talk to our neighbors to get to know each other better. But the second part and this is the part that I want to talk about the most we must bring back debate. We will debate in local politics. I’ve run for two offices in Oakland. I have not had a single debate, not one. What they do is they do these things called forums. So liberal cities like forums because they like low information voters. They don’t like their track record challenge. So there’s a difference between a forum and a debate. When I asked them hey, is there a bottle, is it debate? I said no, we do forums because debates are arguments and that’s not productive. People just need the information to make the best decision. Now that sounds good to some people, but I call BS. I’m going to read you a passage, but what I call my Bible, my second Bible, not the real Bible, but by organizing Bible it’s with all of the elites, by Christopher Lash. if you’ve never read this book, I suggest you pick it up, it is a every sentence is going to have to be written down, but there’s a chapter called the Lost Art of Argument and I’m going to read this. What democracy requires is vigorous public debate, not information. Very first sentence, of course it needs information to what. The kind of information it needs can only be generated by debate. We do not know what we need to know until we actually write question and we can identify the right questions only by subject in our own ideas about the world to the test of public controversy. Information, usually seen as a precondition of debate, is better understood as a spy product. When we get into arguments that fully focus and engage our attention, we become average seekers of relative information. Otherwise, we take in information passively, if we take it in at all. They know this. They know this and this is why they don’t want debate, because they don’t want to be challenged with people who have common sense. They can’t hold up their arguments to the test of public controversy, so they demonize, they slander, they go for reputation destruction. They do any anti-intellectual time. I say they, I mean both parties, but right now we’re talking more about the lack of completely guilty of them. There is no room for discourse in the middle ground, even if you follow lockstep and key with the far left, progressive or whatever regressive policies, or your exercising demonize and card or types of names.

Kelly Tshibaka: 16:30
People are over it.

Seneca Scott: 16:31
So first thing we need to do is bring back intelligent debate, intellectual, no more anti-intellectualism amongst our elite, who are doing this on purpose. We need to educate people so they can actually understand what’s going on in these debates. At the baseline, these will restore a healthier democracy, but none of that would matter if your elections are free and fair. I’m going to say it’s really quick because we don’t have time to get to talk about this. You want to bring me back on what we can. Our open election for mayor last year was decided by less than 700 votes. We have one short voting, just like you guys have in. Alaska Right Rig choice, rig choice voting. I call it An election decided by less than 700 votes, 3000 plus votes, which is qualified in black and brown communities at that. We don’t know why they were disqualified. We can’t get a manual recount. That means the registrar who disqualified the votes chose the winner, not the people of Oakland. Not to mention that that election took a week to count. It had so many inconsistencies in violation of our city charter. It was blatantly a fraudulent election. It’s been zero justice. No one’s talking about it and we’re entering another election cycle without showing up any of those mistakes. So, firstly, until we restore actual freedom and integrity in our election, we’re going to have some serious problems at the days ahead in America.

Niki Tshibaka: 17:55
That’s a really interesting perspective and, yeah, I would love to have that discussion at some other point.

Kelly Tshibaka: 18:03
We could do a whole segment on our CV. It’s really interesting.

Seneca Scott: 18:07
We absolutely could.

Kelly Tshibaka: 18:08
Yeah that you talk about the debate versus forum thing. I had this new experience running for US Senate. We kept doing all these forums and there’s no opportunity to actually go back and forth on real issues that matter. Because if we did, there’s so many holes in the incumbents’ record. It says they’re like Swiss cheese, but you’re not allowed to ever actually point it out, and so she would just sit there and flat out lie and it’s like you fit your voting record.

Seneca Scott: 18:39
Well, here’s how you fix that. Here’s how you beat that. You forced the debate in public opinion, like we’re doing now.

Kelly Tshibaka: 18:45
Yeah.

Seneca Scott: 18:46
You forced the debate, you skipped their debates and you take it to the people you demand and you just got to be better at communicating.

Kelly Tshibaka: 18:52
We tried that, yeah, and also so many points that you correctly make about ranked choice. What’s that?

Seneca Scott: 19:01
How did it go? You said you tried that. I mean I would like to.

Kelly Tshibaka: 19:06
She just never agreed to do a debate, so we did the same thing. She won’t agree to do a debate, and then she, and with the help of the media that supports the policies that she votes for. Well, we’re doing these debates. We just reframe the forums as debates and, to your point, the low information voter. I don’t know when we last saw an actual debate. Even the presidential debates are technically forums.

Seneca Scott: 19:32
You still have a moderator and a fact checker there. A debate has a moderator, a fact checker, and you’re not allowed to do any anti-intellectual argument. You have to point out errors or omissions in your opponent’s factor logic. That’s it.

Kelly Tshibaka: 19:45
Right Like, let’s go back to University Debate Club.

Seneca Scott: 19:48
Yeah, we don’t do that on purpose.

Kelly Tshibaka: 19:50
Right. Well, so going back and forth on issues, one thing I think is really beneficial that you actually took up in your campaign is the issue about law enforcement and public safety and, interestingly to your point and you mentioned this in your last question it’s kind of the people of Oakland against the establishment that intends to maintain control. There’s kind of a rallying of maybe people who aren’t normally on the same side of an issue all coming together around public safety. So we have the NAACP and the senior pastor of Axe Full Gospel Church recently writing a letter to Oakland’s elected leaders making national headlines where they’re saying that failed leadership and the defund, the police movement and the district attorneys on willingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life-threatening, serious crimes, and then this proliferation of anti-police rhetoric have quote created a heyday for Oakland criminals. So we wanted to ask you what are all of your thoughts about the defund, the police movement and anti-police rhetoric and how it’s affected Oakland and its skyrocketing crime rate? What’s your take on all this?

Niki Tshibaka: 20:59
That’s a big question. We’ve got about two minutes, it’s a big one.

Seneca Scott: 21:03
We could go on. The next. I would say that I am an officer and a member of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP. I was a part of that effort. I’m also a national sergeant at arms for the state of California and Hawaii for the NAACP, and was that the last national convention? Here’s the issue with defund. You can’t have a monolithic approach to police reform. Every single police, municipality and apartment has to be treated as standalone. I’ll give you a ready example. Take the city of Oakland and city of Boston. Oakland has 450,000 people. We have about 700 officers which are supposed to have 1,200 by FBI. Formula 9-1-1 doesn’t even work. 9-1-1 doesn’t work. We don’t have a functional 9-1-1. So take that. And also, only 10% of Oakland’s police officers live in the city of Oakland. Compare that to Boston. Boston has a first-generation Asian-American mayor, progressive-led city council and active chief-funded police movement. Here’s the difference. Boston police has to live for 10 years. In Boston, if you want to be a police officer, you’ve got to be local for the first 10 years. Boston has over 2,200 officers for a city of 600,000 people, so nearly two to one numbers of officers of Oakland period. And then you talk about a host of other laws that I’m not going to get into. But just when you talk about public safety, if I’m in Boston and we have a safe, livable city and we’re identifying we could use more money and nonviolent intervention or different things that are holistic that could be. I’m willing to experiment with those things because we do need law enforcement reform. What we’re seeing here isn’t the best way to do things. We should always be looking to make our services more efficient and improve them. However deep front of the police in Oakland when you have no rule of law not what one does in work and you don’t even have a cop to drive the street. It’s absolutely idiotic. People don’t seem to see it out because it’s performative altruism. It’s all about performance. It’s a play for them. It’s the luxury politics of the elite that they vote for. That and truly recently in Oakland have not affected the people in the rich neighborhood Only recently, not if the hominidation and the shootings and the violence have gone to the hell and no one in our entire city is safe. Now we have an opportunity. Instead of pointing a finger and saying, see, you deserve this. That’s what people want to do. Who cares? We need peace, reconciliation. We have a rally for solidarity and solution to solidate. That’s what we need. We need solidarity with the elite who have the money, who have been voting the wrong way. Bring them down to the neighborhoods, let them see where they have votes at then and then they can have their own personal, restorative justice by just voting better and working with people across the city so we can create an Oakland where they’re no more good and bad neighborhoods, but a thriving, beautiful city throughout and what they’re doing just stops. So the good news is that the silver lining in the progressives dangerous policies across the country, the divestment from public safety and law enforcement, which our ad is deliberate. If you look up, the largest contributor to the defund the police movement, it’s the eBay founder, who is also one of the largest contributors in World Cup, basically.

Niki Tshibaka: 24:24
AI police. How interesting, why so?

Seneca Scott: 24:26
much. Come on now. This stuff is basic. They’re not even hiding it anymore, they’re mocking us.

Niki Tshibaka: 24:32
Let’s pick up and just on the other side of the break with Seneca and pick up on this fascinating conversation. Be right back.

Kelly Tshibaka: 24:56
We’re back with Seneca Scott on stand. I’m getting great thoughts from him on how to be a postpartisan solutionary and actually find solutions to problems.

Niki Tshibaka: 25:11
So, seneca, you were talking about the movement to defund the police and how it was largely funded by the founder of eBay. Sadly, what you’re experiencing in Oakland seems to be happening all over the country when progressive policies are being used to address crime, and I think that’s part of what makes Oakland’s story so important for everyone to understand, because it’s a microcosm of what’s happening on a broader basis across the country in urban areas. When you were running for mayor of Oakland in 2022, you did an interview with City Journal, a periodical out there, and you talked about how Oakland has experienced a 24% increase in homelessness in recent years. That’s a huge increase, and we’ve seen a similar dynamic here in Anchorage just this skyrocketing homelessness and we’re all concerned about it because we care about our fellow man as a solutionary. What would you recommend to address the issue of homelessness? Granted, every city is a little different, but what are your thoughts on how we can get a handle on this?

Seneca Scott: 26:28
That is a longer than 12-minute answer. I’ll give you some bullet points. You’ve got to define the institutive issues Affordability and cost of living issues. Rising rent is separate from drug tourism. So in Oakland we have a drug tourism problem that’s responsible for the majority of our unhoused population. If you look at the numbers, that is an increase. It’s equally quantifiable, improvable. I’ll give you the smoking guide. Oakland had the longest standing eviction mortuary in the United States of America. Through the COVID it just ended in July of this year. Three-year eviction mortuary, three years plus. People didn’t have to pay rent. Many people abused it. This government enabled that. We have over $100 million owed to small property owners of the city of Oakland alone in Los Angeles. So if you didn’t have to pay rent and no one could be evicted, how does your homeless population skyrocket by 28%? That’s a compassion people are coming here for the promised land of milk and fennel and not do anything you want. You can judge us, you can prostitute. You are a protected class citizen if you’re homeless and you’re not contributing. However, if you’re a tax payer just trying to make it, you’re a second class citizen. Fourth, allow people to steal your home, steal food from your restaurant, steal stuff from the store if it’s not more than $900, and you have a new repercussion. That’s why business is closing every single day in the city of Oakland. So part of that is the drugs. The doors are dealing with the drugs. First, you have to stop the fentanyl epidemic. We have open borders. There’s no more opiate epidemic and that’s how we don’t do opium anymore. There’s all synthetic fentanyl coming from India and China, through South America and up to our border. We all know it. What the heck is going on? We had 18 deaths eight days ago in San Francisco. In one day, 18 overdoses. So that’s one issue with the fentanyl war. Let’s leave that where it is. How do you fix that? Wrap them up. Stop the drugs from coming in, give people the services they need, require people to participate in their own healing, where, if you don’t do that, you’re not able to continue to take from people who are working hard to pay taxes and make it. Everyone has a responsibility to not to take from others. You can do whatever you want if you’re not hurting other people. You want to go out in the middle of nowhere and do whatever and camp out. If you’re not, if you’re cleaning up and you’re not burning on the force. No one’s ever killed about that. We call them kill-yak-ke or hippies or whatever. When it comes to what we’re seeing now, this is a managed decline of our city. None of this is because of lack of ideas. This is coming directly funded. The same pattern. A non-profit industrial complex Progressive city council stockpuppets, who never were all the same carecursors of each other. City to city, same rhetoric. Who were they? Funded by Zuckerberg, searle, tachtire you can go through the list of mega-billionaires who are funding these, and all of them have interest directly related to fix the problems that they create. Why has no one put this together yet and why is no one holding the billionaire class accountable for the destruction of the American working class? So that’s another real issue. I know it’s a symmetrically-seemly related to homeless, but these non-profits that are pushing this stuff are all funded by these mega-billionaires, so they want this to happen. They want things to happen like there’s no single-family home ownership. Anything they can do to stop working Americans from owning property. They would do it, and I remind you, just back in 2012, those standards had a whole platform of getting more Americans to own single-family homes and investment property. What’s happened there? What’s happened there? It’s almost like this is completely reversed to. No one deserves to own anything unless you’re part of the elite and you do everything you would say so. The homeless population is a byproduct of our managed decline, of our American cities being ushered in by a billionaire class who seeks to take over every facet of control over our lives. It is not a conspiracy I do not have a chance for you all to have on. This is happening in America. People will be wise to wake up and start organizing against it right now, before it’s too late.

Kelly Tshibaka: 31:00
Yes, annika, it’s a really interesting observation that you made here the non-profit industrial complex with an intentional management of the decline of our cities and remember RFK Jr saying something like this too why are these multi-billion dollar companies coming in and buying up all of the single-family homes? So we’re moving towards a state where we’re not going to be able to, as you say, have any private property ownership. It’s all intentional, which leads us back to a question that we wanted to ask you about. You’ve talked about this before the root causes of sort of a victimhood mentality, and there’s something that you wrote, or someone asked you a question about this, and you said you don’t like root causes. What is a root cause? The root cause is us, it’s people. We would like you to just share this a little bit more, about victimhood mentality and your thoughts on that, why you think it’s so damaging. Just share with us a little bit more about your thinking on that.

Seneca Scott: 31:59
It’s damaging because it defeats us and it’s not how black people lift themselves out of a question. I’m going to read a poem for you because I think this poem does it the best. But it’s intentional. If you look at our first wave, the 60s, when people were literally fighting to restore the right to educate themselves, own property, not be lynched in the streets by racist police and not be deemed an eye for the color of our skin, we were fighting against very well a question 60 years ago and it’s not the same anymore. They’re cosplaying. If you look at the language of people who are actually directly affected and in danger by the most intense period of racism and vitriol in our history, they never were victims. They wouldn’t build Black Wall Street. Do we talk about Black Wall Street being destroyed? But no one ever talked about what wouldn’t the building get. Why is that? Why do we have things like self-determination, which is Cougar, cochalilla and Kwanzaa? Look at all these principles of Kwanzaa. Not one of them said I’m a victim. Someone read this poem from the Pledge from Abio Dune, from the Last Poets, and they are credited with being the founders of hip hop. I know Abio Dune, author of this postulary. He is the uncle of the late friend of my, sean Hilson, who died of a heart attack a few years back. So he’s a professor at Columbia University, very famous guy, a beautiful man. He made this pledge and I start my rallies like this this is his pledge. He didn’t want to do the pledge of allegiance and again I can agree with people from all types of political spectrums he felt that that pledge wasn’t for him. He wanted to do something. Now I say that because of this. Think about how militant, black, radical and all of that it ships all the boxes that the world should have progressed to state that they’re in. But then I want you to listen to what he says. I want to be what I can be, to be proud, healthy and fit. I want to share what I know to help my brothers and sisters grow. I want to feel good about me and blame no one for my misery, because I’ll be strong and turn it around. I want to go up, I’m not going down. I want to do what I can do to make all my dreams come true. Remember my past, the good and bad, how I made it up, even when I was sad. I want to share whatever my gift and when you’re low, I’ll give you a lift. I want to live without fear and know that I’m blessed to be in here. I want to live without fear, to know that we’re blessed for being here. I want to live without fear. I talk about that word. Victims are scared. Scared people are easy to control and they don’t even know why we do that.

Niki Tshibaka: 35:11
That’s powerful. You know, I, as you were talking, I was thinking about how yeah we’re. We’re the people who produce Benjamin Bannaker and Frederick Douglass and Booker T Washington and and Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and Chaka Zulu, and I mean Martin Luther King Jr. We can go on and on. George Washington.

Seneca Scott: 35:35
George Washington, yes Come on Are.

Niki Tshibaka: 35:38
we are a powerful, gifted, talented people who helped build this nation. We are not victims. How do we get people? I know we’ve only got about one minute left in this segment.

Kelly Tshibaka: 35:51
I think we should wait, that’s a big question and I want to hear the holy answer.

Niki Tshibaka: 35:57
Okay. Well, the question we’re going to ask on the other side of the break, seneca, is how do we break people out of this victimhood mentality, and I say that as somebody whose father was an impoverished child in the rural Democratic Republic of the Congo who made it to the US and built a life for himself. It can be done. We will be back after this short break with Seneca. Scott, don’t go anywhere.

Kelly Tshibaka: 36:26
We’re on YouTube at the stand show. Leave a review and get a free sticker. Our website is standshoworg. Stand by. Welcome back to Stand your weekly dose of courage. We’re here with Seneca Scott, former candidate for mayor in Oakland, California, with a ton of solutions and practical application for how you can make a difference in your community. Seneca, thank you for modeling the way. We had a fantastic question lined up by my amazing co-host, Niki Chevacca, right before the break. Niki, can you paraphrase it for us and kick us off?

Niki Tshibaka: 37:03
Seneca, you were talking about how we need to break out of the victimhood mentality, that it’s defeatist and destructive. How do we do that? How do we bring people and I’m not just talking about African Americans, I mean the people in our local communities too who are feeling like there’s nothing they can do, they’re victims of circumstance? How do we bring to them a mindset of empowerment that can help them to break through and change their lives?

Seneca Scott: 37:33
Great question. So I dealt with this a lot as a new organizer and we used to call it battered workers syndrome or battered nurses, battered wife, battered same profile, battered neighbor syndrome. You beat up your appetite that you’re checked out, so emotion helps. So the best thing to do is you got to move people from apathy. Personally, it only takes one courageous person. So there’s a YouTube video I share as part of my training for organizers. But let me back up. Simply put, what you have to do is start knocking on your neighbor’s door. You’re less afraid the more you know that all people are going to help you. But this would have your fear and anxiety is known as your neighbors have your back and you can communicate with them and you’re working together, making your actions match your ambition to create better communities. So we call it building parallel systems involving creating agricultural spaces, etc. But you have to talk to people and we’ve lost our third space. There’s no third space, we don’t go to church. I mean, what about? Bars and coffee shops are fine, they’re not bad for spaces, but they’re so expensive now that average person can’t access them with any regularity. So where do we go now to communicate with each other as equals, despite your financial status? We don’t have them. So the easiest thing to create our local community garden, which everyone has the space to do, to create those places that also provide nutrition. But I want to get into how do you get past where you start out. You’ve got to have to be a little daring and crazy. So there’s a video. If you go to YouTube and you write boy dancing on a hill leadership, a video will come up and you show this kid on the college party. It’s a big college party and a big slope and everyone’s sitting down and drinking and chilling. It’s not a razor, it’s like people hanging out on a grass to the tune down to the blankets. No one’s dancing. This one guy stands up one to the top of the hill. When he starts doing this little weird dance, he cannot dance. He looked like Elaine on science field.

Kelly Tshibaka: 39:49
He looks ridiculous.

Seneca Scott: 39:50
About 30 seconds in, another guy comes when he starts dancing with him. That’s your first follow and that’s an underrated form of leadership.

Niki Tshibaka: 40:03
You don’t have a movement.

Seneca Scott: 40:04
Yet If your first follower that’s good enough, a third person will come. Now you have a movement In one minute in this video you see one guy who starts to finish. I think it’s maybe three minutes time, not one minute, I’m sorry. You see one guy go from people laughing at him to a higher hill dancing like maniac and you don’t see him anymore. You never. And if you just got to that party you would have never knew. That was started by one person who they were laughing at, gondi said it first thing, live First, ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Now I thought I, you know, I zapped up, you know, to that analogy to that boy on a hill with no fighting that party. But you get what I’m saying. They ignored him, then they laughed at him and then someone joined him and then another person joined him and the Bible says we’re two or more gathered and that’s cool. But I like three. I’m big on three. Three is a group, two is a pair, three is a group. You got to work until you get a group and once you’ve got that group of even three people, you can change your city. What we’re doing in Oakland is. We’re trying to organize just two percent of our elected by new year, like 5,000 people, about 250,000 elected voters to make sure that we’re all in leadership and we’re all communicating, Not as a robot, but we’re communicating what we want to see from our city and what the qualifications of leadership we want to elect, and that we were not elected, and what else who our neighbors do not consent to. If people felt that there was a movement that they could be a part of. And we started with just simple long sign. I believe in the power of neighbors to create a safe and livable city. Nothing about government accountability, nothing about taxpayer money. It was just like JFK’s act not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country? It’s the same message. It’s a winning message. You’ve got to fight like hell to get that message to your neighbors and you can’t give up on them. And if you’re one of those people who are on the Hill dancing, and you’re one of those brave souls who want to sacrifice some embarrassment, or temporary embarrassment, for the movement. Just know that it’s worth it and the uncomfortability will pass. It will pass before you know it and they can’t cancel the truth and they can’t cancel a child of God. Just be an honest person, move with integrity and you will be fine. Don’t worry about them. They say talk to your neighbors. The vast majority of us want the same thing Safe, livable cities where families could be raised and we can afford our land and have a fine.

Kelly Tshibaka: 42:54
That’s really why Seneca. You know, yeah, I try and normalize awkward, especially for the children that we’re raising and I’ve just explained to them exactly what you just said. Life is just a series of awkward moments, separated by snacks, and as soon as you can just get comfortable with there’s just gonna be a whole lot of awkward around here. The sooner this whole thing gets better, but also to your point, the sooner you become a leader, because leadership is just really awkward. But you can get a whole lot of people dancing if you just embrace the awkward and also you don’t feel so awkward anymore because you just get really comfortable with awkward. I’d love to talk to you about your neighborhood initiative Neighbors Together, oakland. You founded it. You describe it as a post-partisan organization of solutionaries who are active in being the change we want to see in our world. You do that through your four pillars. I want you to tell us about that. How is that working in the local community and local government? Can you tell us how you use the term accessible housing rather than affordable housing, which is what we hear a lot from community leaders? Just tell us a little bit more about that. This is the last question we have time for, but I wanna make sure that we hear about what you’re doing, what’s close to your heart.

Niki Tshibaka: 44:13
Yeah, we got about four minutes.

Seneca Scott: 44:15
Yeah, well, we’ve been knocking on doors and organizing, making sure that we’re building, identifying leaders, getting people educated on our government, how it works, our city charter, how decisions are made and their ability to influence the decision. Most people have been apathetic and low information voters for so long that now that they’re engaged, literally out of self-defense, they’re a lot more, they’re paying attention a lot closer when it comes to working with our government. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our government are progressive zealots. The few white-listed are there have bravely and courageously stood with us and for that they were gonna be immensely rewarded. Our rally decided they had taken a life of its own. Our city council and mayor have actually tried to stifle our first amendment rights by illegally calling organizing and supporters of the rally threatened them if they would attend and trying to call me every by-name in the book because of my religious beliefs. It’s absolutely beyond the pale. The good news is that it didn’t work. It’s backfire.

Kelly Tshibaka: 45:16
Thanks for taking a stand.

Seneca Scott: 45:18
People are tired of it. People are over it. Right now they don’t wanna hear anything of some people in positions of power except solution, and so being hyper-focused on solutions and bringing people together, that really worked. So our four pillars first. Our four pillars are based on our enthusiast’s hierarchy of needs.

Kelly Tshibaka: 45:39
Oh.

Seneca Scott: 45:40
You have to be safe, you need air. We didn’t talk about air and water because it gets too esoteric, but if you look, if you think about it every one of our hierarchy of needs is compromised right now, especially for working people. Our air quality is in. Neighborhoods are poor. Our water quality is dependent on what city. If you’re in Michigan, flint or Mississippi or whatever, we’ve got less than our water in a local high school over here Still in 2023. Wow, our air quality is effective, either by pollution or the fire is being set deliberately. I believe all of these things that are happening, we’re affected and our food is being controlled. Food is power. If you look at anything, food always becomes political in societies. We want to get ahead of that, and so that’s why we made local food system our second pillar, because it’s very important to make sure that people are having healthy, nutritious food. Also, when you’re talking about our child soldiers that are on the streets of Oakland, none of them were fed healthy food.

Niki Tshibaka: 46:41
Because none of them are live.

Seneca Scott: 46:42
How could you show someone you love them if you’re not feeding them Right? So that’s a big gap. Then we take accessible housing because our unhoused population run them on drugs and have mental illness problems. If you have high levels of mental acuity and mental illness and you’re in drugs, you can’t afford anything anytime soon. You need to access shelter or housing right now where you can have the services to get better.

Kelly Tshibaka: 47:05
Yeah, that makes sense.

Seneca Scott: 47:06
And then we also need elders on fixed incomes who can’t afford things to get access housing. So also affordability is weaponized. No one can tell me what affordable housing is. It’s a being a nonprofit group where people are competing for the right to build housing where they can make money. And then, last, we use a thriving local businesses, because commerce is what separates us from being a developed society and being sort of nomadic. You have to have commerce, and so that is what modern society demand, and cities have always been a place where commerce happens. Cities are places where you go to come up. If you don’t have any cities or any commerce, you’re never gonna have any economic mobility. Economic mobility is completely done when cities are done or when they’re controlled, so they need to be vibrant centers of economy and a light, and so we based it off of that. What would we do to create a perfect city? I don’t mean utopian, I mean as best as humans can do to keep ourselves in chat. And so we do that. The reason we chose the neighbor is because it’s just a commandment.

Kelly Tshibaka: 48:19
Okay. So if you wanna learn more about Seneca’s nonprofit organization and support it, please go to neighborstogetheroaklandorg. That’s neighborstogetheroaklandorg. This is an example of a post partisan solutionary at work. Don’t forget to subscribe to our show on YouTube at the stand show. Follow us on social media. Kelly for Alaska. Leave a review this week and you can get a free sticker from stand. If you were selected as our lucky winner, we’ll see you next week at stand Seneca. Thank you for being with us. You’re welcome back anytime.

Seneca Scott: 48:53
Thank you both for having me. God bless you.

Kelly Tshibaka: 48:55
God bless you. We’ll see you next week.

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