Citing this video from last week’s tumultuous events at the Old Courthouse, the group opposing Mayor Francis Slay is asking jazz artist Wynton Marsalis to forgo his plans to perform in St. Louis next week in honor of the call for an economic boycott of the city resulting from Slay’s rift with the black community.
To: Mr. Wynton Marsalis
Dear Mr. Marsalis:
We are forwarding to you a video which captures the recent incident of the Mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay, being literally shouted down at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the Old Courthouse last week. This video demonstrates how the racial tension in this city is escalating to a fever pitch, receiving front-page coverage last week in both the white and black press and being widely broadcast on every TV and radio station.
We bring this to your attention because I have not heard back from Ms. Stewart, who I understand is your agent, since my January 7, 2008 e-mail to her, which was in follow-up to previous correspondence and e-mails concerning a Boycott Alert that we have issued because of this racial strife.
It is now critical that you communicate with us immediately – prior to your scheduled concert – so that we can make you aware of our position with respect to your appearing here in St. Louis.
We would ask that you show the black community here during this crisis the same kind of courtesy and respect being demonstrated by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), which is threatening to cancel its 2011 convention that is expected to generate $30 million in business for the city. (This information was sent to Ms. Stewart as well).
We hope and trust that you will follow NSBE’s example of hearing first hand the concerns of our community, and then let that weigh on your consciousness and conscience. This video amply illustrates how disruptive this situation potentially is because of the deeply felt racial injustice, and we think that you, like NSBE, can and should play an important role in curing this.
Thank you, and because of the urgency, we will expect to hear from you within the next 24 hours.
Eric E. Vickers
Chairman Boycott Committee
Citizens to Support Fire Chief George
Marsalis is scheduled to perform February 1 and 9 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.