2 min read
Posted on 01.12.06
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 01.12.06

Sylvester Brown writes a column for the daily newspaper. Mr. Brown began his most recent column with some comments about a speech I made at a Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration.

He did so without actually quoting a single sentence from my speech, which left his readers with no way of judging the accuracy of his analysis.

Here's what Mr. Brown penned:

"There's too much racism," Slay said, adding that it's perpetrated by those "seeking to divide us." According to Slay, we'd have a much better city if we just focused on King's "content and character" philosophy, not the race-baiting malcontents. It's a nice dream, I guess. We can pretend there's no disparities fueled by individual and institutionalized racism. We can operate under the illusion that St. Louis isn't one of the most polarized cities in the nation. We can certainly blame everything on those with separatist agendas.

And, here's what I actually said:

There is much to celebrate in St. Louis. Our City is undergoing a rebirth. Neighborhoods throughout the City are being rebuilt. But, we could do so much better if it were not for the corrosive effect of racism. We could do so much better if we tried harder to understand each other, work with each other, have fun with each other, know each other. We have made progress. But, we still have too much segregation, both where we live and how we think. People set themselves apart by race, by north side versus south side, by downtown interests versus neighborhood interests. People have resorted to half truths and innuendo to perpetuate segregation. And unfortunately, good and well meaning people sit on their hands and allow this to take place. The truth is that in every neighborhood in every part of the City, people want the same thing: a decent place to live, a safe place to raise their kids - a quality school - and amenities to enjoy. For our city to continue growing, we have to be progressive.

You can read my whole speech here.