Democrat candidate for Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, J.D. Scholten, hosted a Black Lives Matter discussion a month ago. The discussion featured Treyla Lee, Tahymrah Lytle and Sherry Washington.
It was an interesting discussion, to say the least. The first 29 minutes or so are available on Scholten’s YouTube channel. But the final 10 minutes or so are not.
Scholten opened the conversation by talking about “injustices that the black community” face. He noted those injustices are not limited to just police and criminal justice reform – but also COVID, maternal mortality rates, housing, student debt, criminal justice reform, voting, environmental issues, workers’ rights and political representation.
Lee is a Sioux City native and a member of the NAACP. Lytle lives in Mason City and is a small business owner. She also is involved in community organizing for racial justice in Mason City. Washington is from Fort Dodge and also involved with the NAACP.
Scholten didn’t challenge any assertions/observations made by any of his panelists. So it would be interesting to know if he believes everything that everyone said.
For instance, Lytle said that she sees power specifically through the lens of “living in a capitalist, white supremacy.” And that power is the “key to dismantling the system that we exist in.”
Lytle added that power is something “we need to seize” and it is currently in the hands of people who cannot be trusted.
Lee agreed that power is indeed something Black Lives Matter needs to seize.
Lytle also said that black people in Iowa need radical, transformative healing spaces. She said there are not many places she can get soul food, get her hair done how she likes, find clothes or even attend church.
“I want to create spaces for us to deal with this generational trauma,” she said. “It is going to stunt our emotional growth as a nation unless we address and care for black people and deal with this trauma.”
Lee agreed with Lytle that history repeats itself.
“This is just the new revolution of the civil rights movement,” Lee said.
Lee compared the movement to the Black Panther revolution. She said the Black Panther movement was a “non-violent movement.”
Lytle, who said she thinks of herself as a Malcolm X to the others Martin Luther King Jrs, said voting is absolutely necessary, but agreed that the system isn’t broken, it was built like this.
This portion of the video isn’t available on Scholten’s YouTube page.
“I also believe that we will get to a point where we pry just need to burn the system down,” she said. “I’m not afraid to say that. I do believe that if it progresses and we find that workers’ rights, that LGBT rights, that women’s and reproductive rights, immigrant rights, aren’t being advanced and that we’re still living in the same situation that we found ourselves in 50 years ago, there is a point in time where we’re going to have to look at dismantling the system from the inside out, from the outside in and what that looks like.”
She then challenged Scholten.
“As it stands, the system is working exactly as it should be. And that’s the worst part. So, I would say, don’t be afraid to be a builder of this new system. And don’t be afraid to own that.”