Black Lives Matter is built, the Wall Street Journal’s Jillian Kay Melchoir tells us, on “a rhetorical deception.”
The premise can’t be refuted but the movement is based on such objectives as defunding the police and “dismantling cisgender privilege,” neither of which will improve the lives of black Americans.
Into this steps Kimberly Klacik, a black Republican who is a longshot candidate to represent Maryland’s 7th District congressional district. She is running against Democrat Kweisi Mfume, who handily defeated her in the special election for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’s seat.
Although Klacik will almost certainly lose, she has become a star in Republican circles. She spoke at the Republican Convention. She also brings a new perspective on how to heal the poverty and desperation of the Baltimore district she seeks to serve.
Melchior writes of Klacik:
“Do you care about black lives?” Ms. Klacik, 38, asks in an ad for her congressional campaign as she strolls down a rundown street. “The people that run Baltimore don’t. I can prove it. Walk with me.” I took Ms. Klacik up on the invitation, though the Uber driver who took me to the corner of South Fulton and Wilkens avenues last month worried it wasn’t safe, even in daylight.
“Dude, it’s half the city, not a couple of blocks,” Ms. Klacik tells me. The Seventh Congressional District is majority-black and overwhelmingly Democratic. Even before Covid, the unemployment rate was above 6%, and nearly 1 in 10 families lived in poverty. Burned and blighted buildings give the neighborhood a war-torn look. Drug use is rampant, and I walk by one man who has passed out on his feet, leaning against a building in a gravity-defying slump. “It’s very hard for me to say to anybody in this neighborhood, ‘This is a land of opportunity, you can do anything,’” Ms. Klacik says, “because they will look around and be like, ‘Are you crazy?’ ”
Ms. Klacik runs a nonprofit, Potential Me, that helps impoverished, homeless and formerly incarcerated women prepare for job interviews by providing them with professional clothing and makeovers. She’s learned that Baltimore’s black residents have good reason for feeling they need to assert that they matter. Democrats have long taken their votes for granted. But Ms. Klacik also blames her fellow Republicans for giving up on Baltimore and places like it. “I’m serious when I say people have never met a Republican, and then they find out what we’re about, and they’re like, ‘I like you,’” she says. “If more Republicans came out here and talked to people, they would see why some people are upset. And then they could say, ‘You know what, now I see, here’s my idea on a solution.’”
Klacik supports increased vocational training and opposes defunding the police, which most black people not personally engaged in high-profile politics also oppose. She believes that there should be better oversight of federal money to ensure that it is spent properly.
In other words, Black Lives Matter is more than a slogan for Ms. Klacik.