UNCF Response to ‘Scoot: Open Letter to New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell’

Dear Scoot,

Nothing much surprises me anymore, but it is unbelievable that you have taken your listeners’ time to attack Mayor Cantrell for not cancelling an event that she had no authority to cancel and that was in fact already cancelled by the time you launched your attack. Isn’t there enough ignorance dividing the citizens of our community without your speaking by not having or knowing the facts before you speak?

Here are the real facts:

1. The event in question was not a mayoral event but a UNCF event.

The Mayor didn’t just claim that this was a private event, it is a private event, as you would have seen if you had consulted the UNCF website and seen its title, “2020 UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball,” or if you had done your due diligence and called UNCF’s New Orleans office or the Mayor’s office. UNCF hosts these events all around the country and mayors, along with other prominent community and corporate supporters (black, white and otherwise) serve as our hosts because they believe that education is vital and key to the success of our communities, no matter the color or shade of our faces. Just a quick call would have avoided all the bad feeling that your misinformation caused.

2. Despite your effort to engender racial and ethnic bad feeling, the St. Patrick’s Day parade was not the only event the mayor canceled.

You chose not to mention that she also cancelled Reds on the Run 5K, the Single Men Social Aid and Pleasure Club parade and Super Sunday, of which, both of the latter are African American organizations. And while we’re on the subject, where’s your open letter to Cynthia Lee Cheng and the other mayoral leaders who also cancelled St. Patrick’s Day-related parades after following the lead of Mayor Cantrell? Shame on you Scoot.

3. Although you ask in your letter “why is the ball that bears your political title not canceled in the name of “social distancing?” It’s because the mayor had no authority to cancel our UNCF event.

This was a decision that was already being discussed among our event chairs and UNCF leadership at the time of the Mayor’s press conference. If anything, the mayor was informing the public as to where things stood because her name was associated at the time to this private event. Of course, you have heard by now that UNCF made a conscious decision to cancel its private event in the interest of our community, donors and sponsors and students. Oh, and by the way, we canceled three other UNCF Mayor’s Masked Balls that were to be held this Saturday in other communities.

“Only you,” you told the mayor in your open letter, “can end the confusion that invites skepticism of your motives as mayor of the City of New Orleans.” No Scoot, only you can end the confusion that invites skepticism of your motives as a radio host. Shame on you. Look in the mirror. Study the reflection long and hard. Remember next time to get the facts first before telling untruths to our community.

Want to atone for the damage you’ve done? Join me in pursuing UNCF’s mission: to send New Orleans kids to and through college. Even better, put your money where your mouth is. You don’t have to wait until we reschedule the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball. Invest today in tomorrow, in the well-educated, economically strong, and unified New Orleans we all want for our next generation, by contributing to UNCF. Remember, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”®

Therese Badon
Vice President, Development
Southern Division, UNCF