Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Detroit City Council Profile: The REAL Raphael Johnson by Akindele Akinyemi
Raphael Johnson is one of the MOST QUALIFIED candidate for Detroit City Council. Not because I have known him for 20 years. Not because I consider him to be a vocal voice in the community. But because I know where he stands with the issues, I know where his heart is and I know that he will deliver.
Of course, when you have a man of this magnitude ready to tip over the boat the haters show up. One hater is Mildred Gaddis on WCHB 1200AM. Gaddis's attacks on Johnson has been ridiculous and hypocritical. She can take money from this brother to have him come on her TV Show on WADL-TV 38 in Detroit but then wants to ride him about his felony when he was 17 years old.
Well allow me to explain who Raphael is and why he should be part of the revolutionary change in this city.
First, one out of three Black men in the City of Detroit are convicted felons. Some come out and actually do well in their lives. Raphael Johnson is one of those people. Not only have he has obtained a bachelors and masters degree from the prestigious University of Detroit-Mercy but has also been a national expert on relationships on the Maury Povich Show.
Did I say national expert on relationships? He is not on Maury being a participant of buffoonery but actually SOLVING problems on national television. Mildred Gaddis does not even come close to solving anything. After all, she lies about charter schools and gossips on her daily radio show in the name of "information."
You see, Raphael is for the people not the special interest. He stands on principles not a mask. When you have been in the belly of the beast of prison for 12 years and come out as a father, a husband and community activist God has a higher purpose for this young man. Yet, Mildred Gaddis, who hates young men who are excelling well in life, is trying to bring his character down.
Well, I support Raphael Johnson for Detroit City Council because of his character, his ability to help those who are in need and is always hungry to learn new things.
Raphael is a Muslim. 20 years ago I was a Muslim also. I brought Raphael to Islam while we both were in high school. He eventually joined the Nation of Islam while I was practicing Islam with the Ansaarullah Community. His faith has carried him over the years and I can clearly say if I did not introduce him to Islam 20 years ago he would have either been dead or still locked up.
Today, as a practicing Christian as well as urban conservative, Raphael was one of the first brothers who I mentored. 20 years later he is still learning new things from me one being my Covenant for Detroit platform for change. However, he has evolved into a leader in this community and I saw that when recently he made the call for 50 men to patrol the east side of Detroit to catch a serial rapist. I was one of the 50 men who patrolled this area for a few nights on my own making sure our children and women were safe. Unfortunately, I did not see any church leaders out with us. That is a serious concern for me.
This is the type of quality leadership I have fostered over the years. Leadership that will work for us. Not because of me or ego. I am not seeking anything in return. As a father myself, I want our community to be safe and secured. I want our educational system to work and this is why I am on the frontlines for educational reform. Raphael is on the frontlines to bring jobs to the City of Detroit by pushing for quality education, diversifying the economy here and rebuilding our families by pushing men to go home to their wives and children instead of hanging in the streets.
So please do not listen to the disgruntled, unhappy, and negative poison from Mildred Gaddis on her radio show in the morning. I know my brother, Raphael, very well. We go back to the beginning and I will not leave him hanging these last few days before the primary election for Detroit City Council. It's time to get behind REAL MEN who will serve our community, who are not afraid to fight for us and fight with us, and have shown an example of what family is all about.
Let me end by saying this in Raphael's defense. For those who have a problem with him about his past for taking someone's life please stop being a damn hypocrite. There are no perfect people running for any political office. Most church goers light up a cigarette right after service, partake in domestic violence, smoke weed right in front of their children and drink, practice a down low lifestyle and bring home diseases to their spouses, are freaks and cheat on their spouses and refuse to empower themselves. The difference is what Raphael did yesterday he is NOT DOING today. Again, I see a church on every corner in Detroit and the quality of life does not even exist. And while Raphael is fighting against the prison culture that has consumed our community most people who are criticizing him will not even come out and better their families and community. These are the haters who sit behind door #1 hoping that something will fall out of the sky instead of working towards a goal.
It's like what Dr. Corletta Vaughn has been saying all along..we need to bring in the right spirit for the right season. And she too, understands, as a pastor of her own church, that the church has failed our community.
So before we discuss what Raphael did yesterday let's discuss with his critics what they are NOT doing today.