Sunday, 17 January 2010

Al Sharpton visits Hackney Schools: a good idea?

A press release from Operation Black Vote says Al Sharpton will be visiting schools in Hackney this week.

Sharpton, civil rights activist and politician, is not seen by everyone as a positive or peaceful force.

Some blame him for the deterioration of race relations in the US. In 1991 Sharpton said: "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house" - that was in the run up to the bloody Crown Heights riots which pitted the black and Jewish communities against each other.

All of this stuff resurfaced last year when right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal condemning Sharpton. Sharpton threatened to sue Limbaugh but the story is still on the WSJ website.

In its press release OBV director Simon Woolley said that there was no greater figure to awake the “sleeping giant” of the Black vote than Sharpton.

OBV also said Sharpton would hold a reception with Black MPs and church leaders, and visit schools in Hackney and Lewisham: "Sharpton’s trip is aimed at inspiring the UK’s Black communities to get involved in politics and make their voices heard ahead of the forthcoming general election."

No one was in the Operation Black Vote (OBV) offices on Friday to say whether or not Sharpton's Hackney schools visit is still going ahead.

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