Publisher: Tara Wicker, You’re No Black Jesus… You’re Black Judas.

Tara Wicker, 

I will no longer call you councilwoman. You lost the respect that comes with the title given to you by the people. I debated with myself if I would write this letter and share it, but I could not live with myself if I did not openly address the betrayal you displayed tonight. The sheer and utter disregard for people who placed you in the very position you’re in. 

Dear sister, you are the token negro. The actions you displayed tonight speak to a deeper issue within yourself. You said you don’t see color. That is the problem. We live in a white washed city, that likes to pretend we are better than we are. The reason the people don’t trust and believe in government is because of people like you. You make it hard for the black leaders that devote their time and energy to change. 

Tonight, you may have a blood brother in Trae Welch, but you turned your back on black people today. You didn’t offer a single valid reason for upholding tradition, other than you thought it was the right thing to do. You cast the deciding vote to appoint Denise Armoroso to the council tonight. You did that because some how you think you’re wiser than the dozens of black people who came and passionately spoke against the decision to appoint someone to a seat of power in government simply because they were married to another person. 

You went against black judges who sued the city for progress for black people. 

You went against state senators and representatives who told you publicly and privately that your decision was not in the best interest of progress. 

You turned your back on black clergy who stood up tonight and declared with boldness the inequity of this council. 

You turned your back on college students who want a “Better Baton Rouge” for all. 

You turned your back on civic association leaders, community activist, business owners, elders, and tax payers. 

You turned your back on the family of Alton Sterling, that would have some chance a laws and policy around policing changing in this city with a more equitable council

You decided that your voice matter more than all the other black leaders in this city who came to speak. 

In casting your vote to appoint someone against the will of black people, understand clearly. You disrespected every black leader that has ever fought for progress because you robbed black people in Baton Rouge of a shot at a balanced council to govern our affairs, and actually get something done in this city. Baton Rouge is 200 years old, and we have never had a balanced council. Black people have never had an opportunity to play the game fairly in Baton Rouge. 

In a city where black people make up 54% of the city, and 47% of the parish, we get less than 2% of city parish contracts. Republicans and white people don’t see it as a problem that black people pay into a tax system that doesn’t do business with them. 

People are still dying in our streets from the lack of opportunities and constant lack of progress. We talk about progress more than we actually do anything, because of leaders like you. Leader who waste our opportunities of advancement, because your moral compass is stronger than all of ours? 

The sad part is you think, you became black Jesus tonight. You believe you’re saving us from ourselves. Dear sister, you became black Judas tonight. 

I wrote this open letter, so you know that we won’t spend our days attacking you. We won’t spend our days consuming our time with trying to fight you. Why? 

Because Judas hung himself, and so did you tonight. 

You may have gained the whole “white” world, but you lost your soul. The heart and soul of Baton Rouge is the spirit and vitality of black people to keep pushing the moral compass of this city. You can have the largest fundraisers of all the black elected officials. Your six children may get preferential treatment. You may get a donor to tithe into your church and help you all build a new edifice. You may think, you have a shot a mayor now, because 10 white people stood and clapped for you, after dozens of black people gave a standing ovation to the black council members after the remarks eloquently spoken by Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis. 

A clear example of how one becomes a token negro and how one fights for their people. You and Councilwoman Collins-Lewis are the longest serving black council members. You were both denied the opportunity to become mayor pro-tem at the beginning of this term, by your white conservative counterparts who STUCK TOGETHER. Councilwoman Collins-Lewis has since had a fire to help advance marginalized people in this city even more. 

You on the other hand, ran to the very people who denied you advancement. You may have saved the establishment dear sister, but you sold out your people. 

Truth is, it was probably all for nothing. I doubt they even had to offer you 30 pieces of silver. You probably did it for free. You know how valuable a sixth seat on the metro council to make the council 6-6 would be to help change things in this city. Yet you still made your choice. 

Remember Tara, we didn’t turn our back on you. It was you who abandoned us… Black Judas. 

In Truth, we will… #KeepPushing #LetsBuild, 

Gary Chambers


The Rouge Collection