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A valiant fight for right in St. Paul

Harry C. Alford | 8/22/2013, midnight

In my travels I have met many outstanding warriors. The late Arthur A. Fletcher and Parren J. Mitchell have cultivated the nation’s landscape in terms of economic empowerment. There has been no greater fighter than the late Rev. Louis Coleman in Louisville. The late Earl White had San Francisco changing for the better with each and every step he made.

Lumon Ross in Buffalo is still going strong and taking no stuff from the gate-keepers and opponents of economical equity. You won’t find a stronger warrior than Arnold Baker in New Orleans. The same can be said for Larry Ivory, who has earned respect from all elected officials in Illinois—from the governor on down to precinct officials regardless of political persuasion. There is no one who can possibly mess with Dorothy Leavell (in Chicago) and get away with it. These greats and legions of others give us hope for the future and a better world for our children.

Recently, we were informed of another warrior in St. Paul, Minn. Pastor Fredrick Newell is of that same ilk. He has led a fight to change the discrimination against people of color and all of the exploitation it entails in this twin city. The data prove that St. Paul discriminates against people of color, and it’s insistence on feeding an Industrial Poverty Complex within its city limits is reminiscent of Jim Crow.

The leaders won’t own up to their vile treatment of Blacks. They insist on a race-neutral program called the Vendor Outreach Program instead of affirmative action. It is a failure, and per the Civil Rights Act, Section 3, of the HUD Act, and decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, the city must change. They refuse, but Pastor Newell is well on his way to making them change.

Pastor Newell is merging proper disparity studies (showing negative impact on Blacks), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act complaints and Section 3 of the HUD Act into a rolling assault against those who refuse to stop their discriminating ways. Section 3 requires that recipients of HUD funding (cities, counties, state, public housing authorities, etc.) must set aside 10 percent of all construction contracts to Section 3 businesses.

Also, 3 percent of all other contracts must go to to Section 3 businesses and 30 percent of all new jobs generated from that funding go to Section 3 residents. Any person living under the poverty level or living in public housing is a Section 3 resident. St. Paul’s problem is that the city has refused to enforce Section 3, ignored recommendations from disparity studies and have denied all decent opportunities for the Section 3 community. Pastor Newell made a very clever strategic move. He has incorporated the Whistle Blowers Program and the False Claims Act into his advocacy. These tools brought legal action into the arena. Federal authorities concluded:

“To qualify for HUD grant funds, the city was required to certify each year that it was in compliance with Section 3. The city then made claims for payment, drawing down its federal grant funds.