Robert Clark: The next chapter

By |2017-10-31T06:23:19-04:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

In our past three Black History Month profiles, we’ve looked at local leaders past and present. In this final installment, we look toward the future and introduce you to a young man who’s well on his way to becoming one of tomorrow’s leaders.
Inspiration sometimes comes from strange places. In Robert Clark’s case, it came in the form of an email he received from Congressman Dick Gephardt. The email announced Gephardt’s intention to run for president, and Clark wasn’t even sure how he’d gotten on the list to receive it.
“I started to think about what my political choice would be for the 2004 election,” recalled Clark, 24. “I read up on each of the candidates, including Dick Gephardt. He was a political science major and pretty much a career politician.”
Clark is also a political science major studying at Wayne State University, and he wouldn’t mind following in Gephardt’s footsteps and entering the ring of public service.
“I think I have a sense of compassion for the working class, and for the disenfranchised, and that’s missing in government right now,” Clark said. “You have your politicians that are pretty much well off, Ivy League educations, and these are the people that are supposed to be able to represent us, the working class. I feel like I have that compassion and that drive to really fight for what’s right.”
Clark has already proven himself a fighter. Last year he volunteered for the Coalition For a Fair Michigan and his efforts to defeat the anti-gay amendment to Michigan’s constitution greatly impressed the seasoned activists he worked alongside.
“He’s the best,” said Michelle Brown, a member of the HRC Board of Governors who was also involved in the fight against Proposal 2. “Throughout the campaign I was always able to count on Robert to be there and to have a lot of enthusiasm. He’s wise beyond his years. I think of him as my comrade in arms. I value his opinion deeply. He’s also very funny and has a great sense of humor. I really think that he’s one of our future leaders.”
In addition to his enthusiasm, Clark also appears to have great reserves of energy. By day he works as business analyst for the Ford Motor Company. He takes classes at night and somewhere in between he manages to juggle a myriad of other important tasks. Like last week’s profile subject, Kofi Adoma, Clark is a builder. He builds partnerships, programs and bridges the gap wherever he can.
He’s president of the Wayne State chapter of Stonewall Democrats, the community events and outreach co-chair for HRC’s Michigan Steering Committee, and a board member of Detroit Black Gay Pride and GLSEN’s Project NOISE.
Clark hopes to one day run for office, likely starting in state government, and says that if he were president today his first priority would be to fix social security.
“[The elderly] are already disenfranchised by the health care system,” said Clark. “Right now, they’re planning on destroying social security so it helps big business. By allowing a person to invest their own social security those profits go right into the pockets of the financial institutions.”
Brown said she believes Clark has the charisma and conviction to succeed in politics.
“He has great insight and great enthusiasm and I expect to see great things from Robert,” she said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to one day see him running for office and I’ll be working on that campaign with him.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.