2016 Election’s Most Powerful Speech Was Not Televised
“The reality is … GenX as well as the Millennials, we’re just really not that loyal to a party. We’ve kind of evolved past that and we’re at a place now where what really matters now is what’s going to happen and who’s going to make what happen.” — YahNé Ndgo, GNC, 2016
Faced with a media blackout, the GNC (Green National Convention/Conference) commenced, leaving every-day voting citizens, like VivaBernie, to take up the journalistic responsibilities neglected by major, alternative, and satirical journalism alike. While we could argue to exhaustion whether or not there exists a tactical advantage to television media ignoring political movements in an age where people don’t actually need televised journalism to stay informed, the fact remains that in this instance, were it not for citizen journalism, coverage of YahNé Ndgo’s speech would have been, at worst, completely non-existent, and at best, snipped into non-contextual sound bites.
Who is YahNé Ndgo?
“We got people in the Democratic Party, people who are billionaires trying to solve the deal and the issues of poverty. How are you going to do that? You have no understanding. You have no idea what it’s like to walk into your house and your power is off. You have no idea what it’s like to have your 5 year-old daughter open up your refrigerator door and start crying.”
YahNé Ndgo has received recent notoriety as the former Sanders supporter and “Demexit”-er (an admittedly odd choice of name for a movement rooted in humanitarianism rather than against it) who took on CNN and somewhat condescending democratic strategist, Emily Tisch Sussman. More than that, Ndgo is a civil rights and inclusivism powerhouse. From working alongside police reformer Captain Ray Lewis in Philadelphia to being the Chair of the Diversity Initiative at a Bennington University writing seminar endeavor (from which she has a Masters in Non-Fiction Literature), YahNé is someone who doesn’t just talk about rhetorical struggle, she lives it even as she creates access for others to overcome it.
The GNC Ndgo Speech
“The most important tool that we have in our arsenal is the spirit of love from which we function”
In essence, Ndgo is what the DNC entirely missed, even within Michelle Obama’s speech. Someone who fights for people every day, whether or not cameras are rolling. Someone willing to do away with the notion of feeding voters “America the great” and bringing voters to the realization that they can be in charge of “America the now”. YahNé’s speech starts at minute 9:
(Apologies for not having access to a transcript of YahNé Ndgo’s speech)
“We cannot be fighting for the rights of all but three people. It doesn’t work. We can’t be fighting for the rights of only the 99%. It doesn’t work. The 1% is a part of this system and they were created by the system. We are all one humanity… so we have to really make sure that we’re winning on behalf of everyone, even the ones who are standing against us; even the ones that are fighting against us.”
YahNé Ndgo’s has an uncanny ability to confront a systemic problem while not assigning ill intent, and present injustices while advocating for unity. She praises the potential of the middle class to poor to change their governance, rather than advocate for wealthy governance to speak on behalf of the working poor. It’s a stark contrast to the RNC’s message of blaming systemic problems on entire groups of people or the DNC’s message of blaming everything on Trump while exalting themselves as the only salvation. In her speech there is no blame, no exceptionalism. There is only reality and the conviction of what can be achieved through love. There is no need for YahNé to play on sympathetic angles or reassure voters she is of the people because we can see her, hear her and know she is not disconnected from the populous. In that sense, she moves our minds past Trump, past Clinton, and into an idea many of us thought was no longer an option, a people’s democracy.
Not only that, but YahNé does it while supporting the rights of those who forget us once elections pass. Her call to action is realistic and not sugar-coated. She tells you it’s going to be difficult, she tells you there are obstacles, and then she tells you she’ll be there to help you. We believe her because she was there before us and continues to be there with us.
“If you try to diminish one then you’re diminishing all the others … we have to make sure that we are the ones who are transcending.”
Follow YahNé Ndgo on Facebook and Twitter, she may soon become your favorite online presence. At least, she’ll provide a refreshing escape from the rather aggressive politics being practiced right now.