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Poverty-Pimping On Steroids

Howard Eagle

WHEC news reporter, Lynette Adams should be applauded for her ongoing attempts to help keep the community informed via her Rochester In Focus program. Yet, it is important for us to remain astute and cognizant relative to declarations on the part of some of her guests.


The May 26, 2024 episode of her program represents a classic example. The guest was Seanelle Hawkins, president and CEO of Rochester Urban League (see the first reference link below).


In my humble, but unequivocally staunch and informed view, Hawkins is largely a professional-rhetoric-machine. She claims that Rochester Urban League so-called "prioritizes equity." That may be true in her mind, but obviously, there's not a whole lot of substance behind the rhetoric. If there was the conditions outlined at additional reference links below could not possibly have continued to exist (for the entire, nearly 60 years that Urban League, and many other poverty-pimping organizations have been around).


The Urban League actually slithered into Rochester on the heels of the F.I.G.H.T. Movement. The local, white-supremacist-based-power-structure fought (successfully) for many years to keep Urban League out of Rochester.


During the program, Hawkins TALKED about so-called "prioritizing "diversity, equity, and inclusion." Obviously, she does NOT understand, and/or care about the irrefutable fact that the concept of so-called "diversity, equity, and inclusion" has been thoroughly bastardized, and in the overwhelming majority of cases where it exists it's clearly being implemented in ways that amount to little more than distractive, chronic, non-productive, perpetuation, reinforcement, and maintenance of white-supremacist-based-symbolism.


So-called "diversity and inclusion" can, and frequently DOES, exist side-by-side with insidious, entrenched, pervasive Individual, Institutional, and Structural Racism, which renders so-called "equity" impossible, and that's a fact.


With regard to seriousness about so-called "equity," the task today is NOT to continue chasing the abstract pipe-dream of so-called "diversity, equity, and inclusion." Instead, it IS development and implementation of crystal-clear, anti-racist policies, practices, procedures, rules, regulations, and laws. That's how you achieve equity within thoroughly racist, white-supremacist -based societies (such as the granddaddy of them all; this one), period. It is the only way. THE HISTORICAL RECORD IS CRYSTAL-CLEAR. All the rest is merely rhetoric and noise (see the second reference link below).


One of the most important questions that was raised during the episode is the question: "How would the Urban League say we're doing in this community regarding equity, parity, power? Hawkins' answer is very, very important because it demonstrates, not only attempted, but unsuccessful, cleverness relative to avoidance regarding a straight-forward, honest answer; but it also clearly reflects the hustle-mentality, discussed at the last reference link below.  Hawkins' answer to the vitally important question noted above is quoted below (verbatim). Please pay close attention, and then decide for yourself whether or not you think it is a straight-forward, honest answer that's based in reality:


"I would say that the Urban League is hopeful, and I'll tell you why. When we think about where we were in 2020 --- in fact we have the RASE Report - the RASE and structural equity report that [was] commissioned [by former Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello]. That group came together to talk about what needs to be done to make our community more equitable. We're working on that. In fact, the Urban League was appointed by the County Exec and the Mayor to lead that work, and we have documentation that we've been making progress. So, I'm hopeful. Then, we also have the state of Black Rochester that's coming. That Report is coming around Juneteenth. So, that will really highlight the work that needs to be done; the work that still has to happen, but it can't happen without everyone all-in. And so I'm hoping that everyone will be all-in, in the work that we have to do to make Rochester more equitable, but we're hopeful; we're hopeful."




Ms. Adams deserves credit for digging deeper regarding the Urban League's role relative to the RASE Commission. She asked about additional details, and here's how the swindling-rhetocitician responded.


"The Urban League is leading the second phase of the work, [which by the way, is the so-called "community engagement" phase] and so we wanted to make sure that this report did not sit on the shelf, and so there are teams, and we call them c.a.r.t. teams - community advancing recommendations teams. They are community members that are working on the areas of education, employment, housing, mental health and addiction. There are many groups. There are about nine working groups that - they're community members leading the efforts, and they are advancing those recommendations. There's still opportunity for community members to join a c.a.r.t. team. You can go to the Urban League's website, and learn more about the community teams, but they meet monthly, and they are advancing the recommendations. We still have opportunities in the area of education. We still wanna see movement in, not just the Rochester City School District, but all of the districts being part of advancing those recommendations. So, there's still work to do, and you can join now."


Again, I'm pleading that readers will check out the last reference link below to read or hear (you can do either, e.g., read or listen to) just how bogus this woman's claims really are regarding RASE.


Lastly, please know that my usage of what I'm sure many will consider as being harsh language, such as "hustling" and "poverty-pimping" is NOT about name-calling, but instead is backed up by irrefutable, concrete, objective evidence, as spelled out at the last reference link below.




Howard Eagle is a longtime educator and local anti-racism advocate, known for his campaigns for the Rochester school board and prolific political and social commentary. Eagle taught social studies in the RCSD for 23 years, before retiring in 2010, and is now an adjunct professor in the Department of African American Studies at SUNY Brockport.


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4 days ago

Mr. Eagle, please ask all black and brown people to vote in the upcoming November, Presidential election...? I read your article here and respect all your scholarship. Thanks


Jun 01
Rated 1 out of 5 stars.

It's disappointing to see such a scathing rebuke of Lynette Adams and her guest, Seanelle Hawkins, on the May 26, 2024 episode of Rochester In Focus. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, this critique smacks of hypocrisy and baseless accusations.

As a start, questioning the integrity and motives of Lynette Adams and Seanelle Hawkins, suggesting they only speak because of financial incentives, is not only unfair, but also unfounded. There is no evidence to suggest that Lynette Adams and Seanelle Hawkins are motivated solely by financial incentives. The critique fails to provide any concrete examples or substantiated claims to back up these accusations, making it a baseless attack on their character and professionalism. Accusing individuals of being mere mouthpieces for…


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