(FinalCall.com) – Recently, several articles have appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle criticizing the decision by radio host Bev Smith and American Urban Radio Networks for inviting Minister Louis Farrakhan to a March 11th Town Hall Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. to discuss issues affecting the Black community.
In writings appearing in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle over the past two weeks, its Executive Editor Lee Chottiner, Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and David Ainsman, chairman of the Community and Public Affairs Council of the Federation, were all critical of Ms. Smith and Pittsburgh’s Black leadership for inviting leaders to discuss Black issues that had not been pre-approved by the Jewish community.
If they thought their veiled threats would undermine support for the event, their efforts have backfired. It is being reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that there are no more tickets available to the event and, according to a spokesperson for the August Wilson Center, the nearly 500-seat auditorium will be filled with an overflow room set up in order to accommodate even more people interested in solutions to the problems plaguing Pittsburgh’s Black community.
On March 4, Bev Smith, who is spearheading the town hall meeting themed “The Disappearing Black Community” wrote an open letter responding to Jewish pressure for inviting Minister Farrakhan to the March 11th gathering.
The text of the letter is as follows:
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT –COMMENTS FROM BEV SMITH REGARDING THE MARCH 11TH TOWN HALL MEETING FEATURING THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN -AN OPEN LETTER TO THE JEWISH CHRONICLE.
(This is in response to the Jewish Chronicles recent article entitled, “Purpose of town hall defeated with Farrakhan appearance”)
For years I’ve talked openly about having a series of town hall meetings aimed at the African American community across the country. The goal is to reunite the African American community, create an interest in volunteering inside the African American community and strengthen the African American family both biological and communal.
Last November 12h at the beautiful August Wilson Center, that dream was realized with the first in a four part series of conversation’s entitled “The Disappearing Black Community, and How Can We Get it Back.”
At that meeting, an illustrious panel headlined by outspoken civil rights activist, and comedian Dick Gregory, looked at the problems in the African American community and outlined how we got to where we are today.
On March 11th, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we will go inside the black community, to look at our responsibilities for some of those social problems, like an increasingly escalating high school dropout rate coupled with a high teenage pregnancy rate.
To undertake this challenging responsibility I’ve invited leaders and experts in the fields of community development, and political achievement. I asked the founder of the Million Man March, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, along withAssistant Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC), and Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation participate in this event.
All agree that this conversation about our community is long overdue and they are excited to be a part of the discussion and would like to helpfind solutions to the problems plaguing our community. Simply, the discussion is aimed at Black People only.
This is why I was somewhat perplexed and later outraged at the suggestion from the Jewish Chronicle that our efforts to talk to people we feel are relevant to our community, is an offense against the Jewish community.
For years I have enjoyed a relationship with the Jewish community and cannot understand why a community who has suffered discrimination as my community has would suggest that we should not have the ability to meet and discuss with anyone we want to regarding the black community.
This town hall meeting, is not about the Jewish community, Egypt, the current problems in Afghanistan or anything else, except, its sole purpose is to discuss the state of the black community in 2011.
I resent those outside forces that are trying to highjack this town hall meeting by making their concerns the center of our discussion. This is not a meeting to discuss anti-Semitism. Their suggestion for us to not have Minister Farrakhan at the table for this important discussion,reminds me of what white slave owners use to do to their black slaves, and that is to tell the slaves how to meet, what to talk about and who to talk to.
I am offended by those outside forces contacting me to suggest I cancel my guest, notably, the Honorable Minister Farrakhan because of issues they may have with him.
At no time during the planning of the first town hall meeting did the Jewish Chronicle or any other Christian organization contact me to talk about the importance of these meetings within our community.
I am willing to sit dowm with members of the Jewish Chronicle, the Christian Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania or any other group interested in making our community better and I welcome the opportunity to do so after the town hall meeting on March 11th.
Again I am setting the record straight, Minister Farrakhan is coming to town along with some of our other distinguished guests to focus solely on how we can rebuild and unite the African American community.
I feel strongly that no one can dictate to the African American community who they can have as a guest around my black family table. -The Bev Smith Show.
Bev Smith -Syndicated Talk Show Host, The Queen of Late Night Talk,
American Urban Radio Networks
Read more online @ http://www.bevsmithtalks.com/