Let me begin by saying this, I am a 37-year old African-American man raised in Texas. As a kid, I had to actually battle racist groups like the skin heads, while actual hate crimes that I took on as a 14-year old caused the KKK to organize a rally in my town in 1994.
I was blessed to go on to earn a college scholarship as a two-sport athlete, I played professional football, worked on Wall Street and completed two Masters’ programs. I am currently a UN ambassador for peace and sport and I have dedicated my life to serving and bringing resources to some of the most underserved black populations on the planet. I’ve also worked aggressively to try to improve race relations between law enforcement and black youth in the US through my #Stand2Protect Campaign.
Oh yeah, I donated the computers and furniture to Barack Obama’s first campaign office in Minnesota in 2007 and I most recently gave Hillary Clinton a maximum donation early this election season as I was excited to see the first female president of the United States.
In 2012, African-American voter participation exceeded that of white voters for the first time in our nation’s history. The black vote made such an impact that, in 2012, it accounted for Obama’s entire margin of victory in seven states, which included Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia (Cook Political Report 2015).
Black-voter participation has increased over the past three elections cycles since 2000 – that is, until Hillary Clinton led the ticket.
Clinton swayed popular black elites and icons such as President Barack and Michelle Obama, Jay Z, Beyoncé and even Ohio’s own Lebron James to fan the country in key states – but to no avail.
So, what kept me and countless other black voters from rallying behind the Hillary train once voting day came on Nov. 8?
She is tied to Bill Clinton’s crime crackdown that resulted in the over-incarceration of young African-Americans
As CNN contributor Van Jones and others so eloquently displayed in the Netflix documentary The 13th, Former President Bill Clinton’s crime bill resulted in more blacks being sent to prison for non-violent crimes than during any other president’s administration in our nation’s history. Not only did he enforce and promote mass incarceration at that time, he went on to stand behind these policies for almost 20 years. If there is one thing that has stripped underserved black communities of opportunity, it is the unwarranted incarnation of non-violent black men and women that has left hundreds of thousands of families without their fathers or mothers.
It doesn’t stop there. Clinton also went on to enforce mandatory minimum punishment laws that still today are putting a dagger in many lower and middle class black families. These mandatory minimum punishments are the single biggest reason that the unjust imprisonment of American men and women is still the highest of any country in the world.
While these are policies from the BILL Clinton administration, people always associate these policies with “The Clintons.” It’s something she could never shake.
Commentary by Jack Brewer, a former NFL safety who played for the Vikings, Giants, Eagles and Cardinals. He is also the founder and CEO of the Brewer Group. He has a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Minnesota. He serves as an ambassador for peace and sport for the United States Federation of Middle East Peace at the United Nations. Follow him on Twitter@JackBrewerBSI.