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The Cost of Silence: How A Wealthy LA Democratic Donor Muted The Political Party of “Allies” and “Coalition Building”

Jasmyne A. Cannick | Special to California Black Media | 8/25/2017, 4:01 p.m.

The silence from L.A.'s Democratic community on the recent death of a 26-year-old Black gay male sex worker in the West Hollywood apartment of 63-year-old prominent Democratic political donor Ed Buck has been astounding.

Gemmel Moore's July 27 death, was immediately classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the coroner, but now the Sheriff's Department is taking a closer look after his personal journal was published. Numerous young Black gay men have stepped forward making allegations against Buck recounting similar stories about a man who they say has a Tuskegee Experiment like fetish which includes shooting drugs into young Black men that he picks up off the street or via dating hookup websites.

In his journal, Gemmel Moore wrote, "I honestly don't know what to do. I've become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that," a December entry reads. "Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy."

His last entry, dated Dec. 3, 2016, reads: "If it didn't hurt so bad, I'd kill myself, but I'll let Ed Buck do it for now.

Buck has given hundreds of thousands of dollars of Democratic causes and candidates over the years. His Facebook page boasts dozens of photos of him with everyone from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to Governor Jerry Brown, Los Angeles County Democratic Party and California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman and even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In online ads soliciting young Black gay men, Buck has referred to them as being a "6-foot" n-word. On his Facebook page, he joked with friends using the n-word.

Typically in politics, we try to distance ourselves from white people who call Black people the n-word or use the n-word–not protect them with our silence.

Most of Los Angeles' Democratic and LGBT community–which are often one in same–has had nothing to say publicly about Moore's death. Politicians who have received thousands of dollars from Buck over the years have been curiously silent. I can count on one hand the number of people from the political party of allies, coalition building and we're stronger together who have made a public call for a thorough investigation into Gemmel Moore's death in light of the numerous allegations that have been made.

And while there was no shortage of politicians in Los Angeles falling over themselves to issue statements and be seen in the media condemning the events of Charlottesville and President Trump's response to them–locally they have seemingly looked the other way and conveniently ignored that one of their top donors might be a serial predator who gets his kicks by drugging vulnerable young Black gay men.

All that talk from Democrats about being allies and at edge of each other's battles goes out the door and loses all credibility when in 2017, a Black gay man can die under more than suspicious circumstances and rather than acknowledge his death–everyone looks the other way because they don't want to alienate a consistent and top-giving political donor.

The Ed Bucks of the world win when their money can literally mute an entire political party.

This is why Democrats lose and will continue to lose in 2018. We don't practice what we preach.

Jasmyne Cannick is registered Democrat and is a nationally known writer and commentator on political, race and social issues.