Representation Matters

RECEIVED Wed., May 9, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Wilhelmina Delco became Austin’s first African American elected official. From the School Board to the House Higher Education Committee, she spoke up for the education of all our children.
    So some may ask, why is it so important that House District 46 remain as an African American seat?
    While it might not matter to the Chronicle, it apparently did matter at one time to the candidate they endorsed for Ms. Delco’s seat, Chito Vela. In his testimony to the Senate Nominations Committee, Vela asked, “Why is there not a Chicano regent?” and shared his frustration with the Statesman: “Could they not find a qualified applicant?”
    The lack of Hispanics on the Board of Regents should be no less upsetting than the lack of African Americans in the entire Central Texas legislative delegation. There is only one African American on the City Council, only one on Commissioners Court, and now the Chronicle and Mr. Vela believe there should be none in our state legislative delegation.
    Ask the families whose unarmed children were shot by police if representation matters. Ask the families being priced out of their homes, or the children of incarcerated parents serving time for nonviolent offenses, if representation matters. From health care to affordability, education to job opportunities, there are issues that hit the African American community disproportionately, and why should we expect that to change when our allies believe representation doesn’t matter?
Sincerely,
Nelson Linder
President, Austin NAACP
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