(UPDATE: I highly recommend reading Alaskan Amy Jones’s well-researched blog about this topic.)
While there aren’t a lot of black people living in Alaska (4.46%), it would be interesting to know what Governor Sarah Palin thinks of her taxpaying black citizens and her approach to inclusion.
Wait no longer. The President of the African American Historical Society of Alaska, Gwendolyn Alexander, who is also one of the Juneteenth Directors in Alaska, released a statement that reveals quite a bit about the veep nominee. (via Electronic Village):
“As for Governor Sarah Palin’s involvement in the African American community, the Governor’s office hasn’t participated in any of our Alaska Juneteenth Events. All previous Alaskan Governor’s have traditionally attended and participated in our annual Juneteenth Celebration. Gov. Palin was the first governor not to send out a congratulatory letter or assist us in any way with our Juneteenth activities.
I didn’t have the courtesy of receiving a reply when I asked for a representative from the Governor’s office to come and speak at our Juneteenth Celebration if Governor Palin was unable to attend. I never even heard of Gov. Palin until she was elected Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in Mat-Su Valley.
Governor Palin is a very energetic and spontaneous woman. With some of the things being said and going around this state right now, I’m surprised none of the national media have bothered to come here and get the words directly from the mouths of the people who have lived with her all of these years instead of ‘surfing the net!’
My other opinion is why would an individual who, to my knowledge, has not hired any African Americans on her gubernatorial staff, insist so passionately on being on a television show owned and operated by an African American, Oprah Winfrey?
While meeting with Black leaders concerning the absence of any African Americans on her staff, Gov. Palin responded that she doesn’t have to hire any Blacks and was not intending to hire any. What kind of attitude is this toward African American for who may be the first Vice-President of the United States?
It’s an attitude that doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s right in alignment with a Values Voter Summit attended by many GOP luminaries that promotes the display and sale of Obama Waffles. It’s in alignment with a party and campaign that is already working to cage voters through unclear ballots and contest voters from foreclosed homes.
What is Palin’s history as governor in terms of appointments? Perhaps there were no qualified POC she could find to promote diversity in her government. Or maybe she has very specific requirements for the posts that no blacks could meet. Oh wait, look at this! (NYT):
As she assembled her cabinet and made other state appointments, those with insider credentials were now on the outs. But a new pattern became clear. She surrounded herself with people she has known since grade school and members of her church.
…Ms. Palin chose Talis Colberg, a borough assemblyman from the Matanuska valley, as her attorney general, provoking a bewildered question from the legal community: “Who?” Mr. Colberg, who did not return calls, moved from a one-room building in the valley to one of the most powerful offices in the state, supervising some 500 people.
“I called him and asked, ‘Do you know how to supervise people?’ ” said a family friend, Kathy Wells. “He said, ‘No, but I think I’ll get some help.’ ”
The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Ms. Palin appointed Mr. Bitney, her former junior high school band-mate, as her legislative director and chose another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the economic development office for $82,908 a year. Mr. Austerman had established an Alaska franchise for Mailboxes Etc.