By Dr. Gerae Peten
And Floyd Alvin Galloway
Dr. Matthew C. Whitaker heeded an axiom, often attributed to Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, don’t stop keep going.” By doing so, Whitaker won a victorious vindication of all allegations and legal charges against him.
The claims against Dr. Whitaker were spearheaded by Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio. The Dist. 7 councilmen had challenged the contract between the Phoenix Police Department and Whitaker’s company, which was to provide culturally consciousness training for Phoenix Police officers in the wake of two controversial shootings in Phoenix and across the country.
The controversial police shootings resulted in the deaths of individuals and heightened an already strained relationship between police and the Black community.
Whitaker, who was the founding director of Arizona State University’s Center or Race and Democracy, met with Phoenix police officials in February of 2015 to iron out rtrainingequirements.
After researching Whitaker’s resume and recommendations from others his contract was unanimously approved.
The $250,000 contract was later rescinded and Whitaker was sued by the city with allegations of fraud and breach of contract.
Hundreds of his family, friends, and supporters received a press release last week on Wednesday, April 18, announcing his victory in a shameful lawsuit instigated by the city of Phoenix. It read, in part, “I am pleased to announce that I have been vindicated. The City of Phoenix sued me for fraud and breach of contract (among other things). After a two-day hearing, the court-appointed arbitrator ruled in our favor on every claim the city filed against us.”
As a bona fide expert in African American history, Dr. Whitaker has become the Griot, or historian in the West African sense of the word, of Phoenix, weaving our tragic past into a triumphant tapestry for the future. Dr. Whitaker’s moral purpose and drive ignited our community to recognize the depth of the racial tensions, hostility, and destruction, that is alive and well in Arizona. Whitaker is a co-founder of the award-winning Healing Racism public dialogue series, recipient of the City of Phoenix Martin Luther King, Jr. Living the Dream Award, and founder of the Center for the Study of Racism and Democracy at Arizona State University.\
By establishing himself with such prominence for his fight against, racism, divisiveness, and inequality, he became a target of the very hatred and racism he was unmasking.
Dr. Whitaker’s new venture, Diamond Strategies, creates the space for our voices and continued battle against the historic and present-day atrocities against inequality, especially in the African American community.
Dr. Gerae Peten is an educational consultant for Sankofa Group, LLC, the retired Superintendent of Fort Thomas Unified School District, and a leader in facilitating sustainable success in teaching and learning for administrators, teachers, and students.