Rev. Al Sharpton went off on President Donald Trump (R) and the development practices in Jersey City during a speech at the Mary McLeod Bethune Center last night.
“Trump is trying to turn us back to the ’50s: some of us are not going back. We fought too hard and suffered too much to see it go back now. And many of us have been tricked into feeling that what has happened in the struggle so far is something that we should dismiss,” he said.
“Not understanding that if it was not for struggle, we would have never got as far as we’ve got. Nobody ever gave us anything, nobody donated nothing.”
Over a hundred people gathered inside Room 204 at Ward F’s Bethune Center last night in anticipation of Sharpton’s speech, who was the headliner for a black arts and culture expo that received little publicity outside of word of mouth.
The Democratic host of PoliticsNation didn’t come to Jersey City just to discuss national politics: he also gave his take on Jersey City’s development stance leading to gentrification.
“You sitting up here in Jersey City and they building hotels all down facing the Hudson and we can’t even afford the rooms in our city. Boy, right now they got a problem with gentrification,” Sharpton exclaimed.
“Let me tell you about the worst part of this gentrification: how do the developers get their money? … Developers don’t use their money: developers get investment capital … from money managers that use pension funds.”
He further stated that African Americans are typically the demographic that most commonly works for labor unions, which is what makes it even more troubling that “they are using our money to remove us from our community.”
He continued that the current development practices in Jersey City essentially allow developers to pilfer from what senior citizens have saved up for retirement.
“It’s bad enough to take grandma out of her house that she has had for three or four generations, it’s worse that you’re using grandma’s pension monies to finance her own removal.”
A city spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking a response to Sharpton’s criticisms.
Sharpton’s full remarks, which lasted about a half hour, streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below: