First Ward forum will choose consensus candidate for black vote

DOUGLASS-NORTH CENTRAL

By CATHERINE NEWHOUSE

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

When Tyree Byndom realized that only a small fraction of the black community was coming to the City Council candidate forums, he decided to organize his own event.

The forum will choose a consensus candidate for the First Ward’s black vote on Saturday, April 2. The event also seeks to overcome divisions and start a discussion that unites local African-Americans around important community issues. It comes three days before the Tuesday, April 5, election.

“Each person has to search out their hearts, but this is the recommendation for the collective vote,” Byndom said.

At the forum, First Ward candidates Mitch Richards, Fred Schmidt, Darrell Foster and Pam Forbes will speak for about 15 minutes each, followed by an open conversation with the community. The forum will be live on KOPN 89.5 FM and Ustream, and people can ask the candidates questions and share their comments through Twitter and Facebook.

“Everyone has always said the black community isn’t united,” Byndom said. “What I see, is they’re not only united, but doing great things together. This is an opportunity to set aside the stereotypes, set aside the division and at least start thinking collectively.”

Byndom said the next First Ward Council representative will need to get to know the black community and understand black culture.

“This is our way of sharing the culture with them so they don’t have to believe stereotypes,” Byndom said.

The event has a potluck dinner, which will be served at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, and a dialogue beginning at 4 p.m. Attendees are encouraged but not required to bring a dish to share.

The forum will be at Parkade Plaza Suite 202, 601 Business Loop 70 W. For more details, read about the event on Facebook.

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