|CPR women speak on protest at Utrice Leid's
Daily Challenge, NYC | April 5,
More than a dozen black women recently rallied in front of the
home of WBAI interim General Manager Utrice Leid. We gathered there
because we are angry about the Black community's continuing loss of
voice and access to New York City radio airwaves.
Leid is assisting in this loss. Leid was installed in this
interim position under contentious circumstances on December 22,
2000. Since then she has been the architect of some deeply troubling
actions and policies.
We have waited for weeks, then months, for Leid to clarify and
rectify her actions. Instead, she has instituted further actions
that serve only to divide and diminish the voice of the diasporic
African community in this city. We women, representing the Black
community, protested the following actions taken by Utrice Leid:
We deplore the use of racism as a justification for Leid's
disapproval. Racism is real and should not be used as a tool to
disguise personal aggrandizement.
We resent Leid's cutting Congressman Major Owens off the air,
thereby censoring him in mid-speech.
We are insulted by the tacit approval Leid has shown to the
misogynistic tendencies exhibited by Clayton Riley. He has verbally
harassed colleagues, mainly women, both on and off the air, yet he
continues to broadcast at WBAI.
We deplore the pitting of Caribbeans against African Americans.
This kind of subtle backwardness cannot be tolerated.
We are insulted by Leid's repeated suggestion that a single white
"Svengali" individual is leading several intelligent Black adults.
We are deeply concerned about the diminished voice of Black
people on WBAI's airwaves since Leid's takeover. Our story is now
being told by those outside our community. This is the way of
mainstream media. We have always looked to WBAI for a progressive
We do not understand how a Black woman of purported consciousness
can accept a position in radio that relies on the unexplained firing
of veteran Black broadcasters.
We are against the banning of broadcasters from the station.
We are angered by Leid's on-air suggestions of impropriety by
those fired and banned while offering no clarity as to her role in
We are outraged that the entire staff of Wakeup Call, a program
that offered voice and access to the Black community, has been
We cannot understand or tolerate Leid's thanking the NYPD on the
air for the arrest and overnight detainment of several listeners and
producers. The arrests came as a result of an attempt to hold a
traditional local advisory board meeting at the station.
We deplore Leid's use of censorship, which has kept the truth of
much of the above situation off the air.
We have lost several progressive Black voices from the New York
City airwaves, including Bob Law and Imhotep Gary Byrd. WBAI is all
we have left, and we will fight to retain it. We demand that Utrice
Leid resign now or face our continued protests until such time that