A young ACORN organizer reflects on negative media sensationalism and how it affected this so-called “radical” group of community organizers. ACORN Accusations: How the Right Got It Wrong
November 25, 2008
“It is these wackos… these anti American Afrocentric Black Liberation theologists working with ACORN… they have been training young black kids to hate-hate-hate this country… It was a movement, it was a Bill Ayers anti-capitalist anti-American educational movement, ACORN is how it was implemented right under our noses!… It has been a movement, it has been a religion.” – Rush Limbaugh
For over twenty years Deedee Ferro has worked to serve people in dire need of medical treatment. With a degree in electronics, she works 65-70 hours a week as a Biomedical Technician operating dialysis machines that cleanse blood for patients with failing kidneys. In short, Ferro keeps people alive.
However, when she’s not working, Ferro dedicates time out of her busy schedule to volunteer and lobby for local and national issues. “I work with my neighbors to get things addressed in my community,” she says, “Whether it is a stop sign or poor water quality, it’s necessary to take action.”
It was only eight years ago when Ferro was in civic hibernation. She became active after “they” came to her door. “They” as in Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a group recently derided by right-wing pundits as “radicals.” “For fifteen years I didn’t vote, or think that my voice mattered,” Ferro recounts. “But when they came to my door it was an eye-opener, and now I feel that my voice does count.”
In the months leading up to the November 4 presidential election, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators portrayed ACORN as militant, election stealing socialists and Obama’s anti-capitalist “crackhead” cronies ready for another round of free for all foreclosures. They accused ACORN members being a part of a criminal enterprise and illegally registering homeless voters.
In the latter stages of the campaign, right wing media reverted to sensationalized accounts of ACORN organizing tactics, focusing on isolated irregularities while painting its members as the antithesis of the American spirit. The attacks came in full force in October when voter registry offices in swing states such as Nevada, Indiana and Ohio reported a substantial amount of invalid registration forms turned in by the group. A media-frenzy ensued, labeling ACORN as Obama’s partisan puppets and accusing them of contributing to the nation’s economic woes and foreclosure rate.