In the article written by Tiffani Jones and entitled, “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Ebony Murphy on Education and the Wealth Gap,” the voters of Connecticut have an opportunity to read more about Ebony Murphy, the Education and Democracy Party’s candidate for Lt. Governor.
Connecticut politics have been heating up as candidates lobby to get on the ballot or get re-elected to office this election year. Each has a bulleted list of ideas about how they propose to ‘save the state’, what’s currently lacking in Connecticut and what they promise to prioritize if elected; and Hartford resident Ebony Murphy is no exception. Murphy, who’s running for the office of Lieutenant Governor (along with running mate Jonathan Pelto) as a potential third-party candidate, caused quite the stir earlier this summer when she filed paperwork to get on the ballot for this upcoming November’s election.
When Connecticut media outlets read the tagline of Ebony Murphy’s inactive blog, they immediately honed in on the fact that she, jokingly, self-identified as an ‘Uppity Negress’. Though Ebony, who is Black, hasn’t filled the blog with any content, the ‘About’ section lists her academic accomplishments, teaching credentials, and all the community outreach and volunteer work she’s done in Hartford. Ebony’s tagline also lists the fact that she’s a feminist, ‘Teamster’s kid’, a ‘Literacy Visionary’ and a ‘Big sister’, but ‘Uppity Negress’ is what Neil Vigdor immediately honed in on, in a June article in the CT Post.
When I spoke to Ebony about the CT Post piece, she said that Neil Vigdor (who she described as a political reporter who writes from a “conservative angle”) asked her about the blog’s tagline and that she’d confirmed that she was being tongue-in-cheek. She said the conversation was a pleasant one, so she was “surprised” by the tone of Neil’s CT Post article. But alas, Ebony Murphy seemed unfazed by the mild rumble she caused right out the gate, and chalked it up to being par for the course for young, Black, ambitious women who often receive pushback as a consequence for being outspoken and driven in their endeavors.
“A progressive Hartford activist named David Samuels called me a token who’s taking [her] marching orders from [her] running mate,” Ebony chuckled. “There’s always this tone of ‘who do you think you are?’ from people. I get pushback from conservatives and progressives. It’s amusing and it reminds me of the time I was in high school doing well at a track meet, and someone [sarcastically] said to me, ‘You sure have big plans for yourself, don’t you?’”
“Society can be indignant towards women with goals,” Ebony continued. “We pretend to be post-racial, but add race to the equation, and there will be pushback when people see ambitious Black women. It’s just the way it is.”
Ebony noted a parallel between herself and Coalition and CT Republican party consultant, Regina Roundtree, who was fired by the Penny Bacchiochi for Lt. Governor campaign after complaining about white privilege on Facebook.
“We’re diametrically opposed politically, yet treated similarly,” she said.
Push-back, skeptics and accusations of she and her running mate being two-party ‘spoilers’ notwithstanding, Ebony Murphy, who’s running under the Democracy Party, seems up to the task of helping enact change in Connecticut and is part of a growing number of educators who refuse to remain silent about the achievement gap, corporate entities’ disdain for teachers and the charter school problem. Last year, Murphy wrote an incendiary piece about her experiences working at Capital Prep under the supervision of controversial charter school advocate and CEO, Dr. Steve Perry. The piece was published to several highly read education sites, including Jonathan Pelto’s blog, Diane Ravitch’s site, and to the National Education Policy Center’s site.
“Jonathan and I are concerned about equitable school funding, well-funded schools, and alternative ways to fund schools,”
“People who grow up [here] locally should be able to afford the cost of living. The achievement gap is explicitly connected to poverty. Folks like Dr. Steve Perry and Michelle Rhee tell us otherwise. Perry has never been a teacher or taught in a classroom, ever,” she emphasizes. “Poverty does affect the classroom experience. And in light of what’s going on with Terrence Carter, Jumoke Academy, Paul Vallas, and Steven Adamowski, the most credentialed people are being shut out.”
As to the question about why Connecticut is one of the richest states in the country, but has such a wide wealth and achievement gap and poor job market, Ebony considered it a bit before positing,
“The wealthy in Connecticut is comprised of old-money. There are also newer transplants that come here from wealthy backgrounds; you see a lot of generational poverty reflected, as well.”
Ebony Murphy acknowledges that she and Jonathan Pelto have their work cut out for them and concedes that it’s difficult for candidates outside of the two-party system to get their message out there. Murphy believes that there are a great number of people (possibly state workers and union leaders) who support her and her running mate’s platform, but that they are afraid of being too open in showing their support, for fear of retaliation: such as running afoul of Governor Dannel Malloy and losing their jobs.
Whether Ebony Murphy, and her running mate Jonathan Pelto, have what it takes to engage voters and get Connecticut on track, remains to be seen, as they scramble to get enough signatures to be placed on the ballot. But Ebony was emphatic about Connecticut’s need for competent leaders who will listen to voters’ concerns when making decisions,
“People need to take a look at how they choose their political and educational leaders in the state. Government belongs to the people, not the other way around.”
For more information on the Pelto-Murphy campaign, visit peltomurphy2014.com or Follow campaign progress on Facebook and Twitter.
Tiffani Jones is the creator and writer of Coffee Rhetoric, a blog about women, pop-culture, film and race. A contributor to both print and digital platforms, she has offered commentary on HuffPost Live and WNPR’s Where We Live.
You can find the complete article at: http://www.northendagents.com/lieutenant-governor-hopeful-ebony-murphy-education-wealth-gap/