by Cyril Josh Barker
For New Pittsburgh Courier
NEW YORK (NNPA)—Grass roots organization ACORN plans to formally disband April 1, blaming failing revenues and bankruptcy. ACORN, which stands for Association of Community Organizations Reform Now, has 30 chapters across the nation, with 15 having already disbanded over the last six months. Several chapters have changed their names, including Pennsylvania, which renamed itself Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change or PCOC.
Last September, ACORN’s reputation was tarnished when a YouTube video surfaced on the Internet showing ACORN employees giving illegal advice to a pimp and prostitute who were actually conservative activists under cover. The damage became worse when an embezzlement scandal surfaced.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, ACORN became the subject of accusations from Republicans for voter registration fraud. ACORN was a heavy supporter of President Barack Obama, whom they endorsed. Reports indicate that the U.S. Census has also ended its partnership with the organization.
In late 2009, Congress cut off federal funding for ACORN, but a federal judge ruled the probation invalid, issuing a preliminary injunction blocking the government from enforcing the ban that is scheduled to expire in a week.
In a statement, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said that the organization has been in operation for 40 years and that the board association had to make a tough decision about ACORN’s future.
“ACORN has faced a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right-wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era,” Lewis said. “Our effective work empowering African-American and low-income voters made us a target. The videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to a rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress.”
Lewis added that ACORN’s vindication on the facts does not pay the bills and that the organization’s community members would continue to fight for justice.
(Special to the NNPA from the Amsterdam News.)