Just a few weeks ago, Wale Elegbede was disappointed to learn that one of his sons was told by another child, “I don’t need to listen to you because you’re Black.” Elegbede believes this is all about culture, and Rochester needs to have a focused effort to love and support one another to change that culture.
Many people think that overt racism is a thing of the past and only exists in history books. Except it still happens and is mostly ignored in history books. Elegbede considers it too easy for students to go without learning certain aspects of American history and the impacts on people of color. He advocated for truth in education in a recent NAACP Rochester Branch forum.
Elegbede acknowledges that one way to support diversity is through workplace culture, but work isn’t everything and Rochester has a long way to go to create a community where everyone feels supported and valued. He would like to see the county and the city be bolder in supporting BIPOC businesses and have a more intentional approach, similar to other buy local campaigns.
After the last election, it seems clear to Elegbede that Rochester is not ready to embrace diversity in its representation, and it was a missed opportunity that experienced and highly qualified candidates of color were not elected. And in some cases, in Elegbede’s opinion, some people were elected who were less qualified than their BIPOC opponents. If the community is not going to embrace people of color, they are going to go elsewhere.
To learn more about Elegbede’s challenge to the Rochester business community, his perspective on Critical Race Theory and systemic racism, listen to this week’s episode of The Other Side of the Table, Season 2, episode #8 Wale Elegbede Part 2.