There’s a really big election coming up in November and I’m not talking about the Presidential election.
What election you ask? Well, after I think about it, it is the presidential election but not for the United States. It’s to head the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP.
There are rumors, and this hasn’t been deemed official yet, that M. Gayle Moss will be stepping down as president of the NAACP and there will be a three-person race between Deborah Walker, Regina Ragin Dykes and current First Vice President Connie Parker.
I say rumors because no one has bothered to call, email or write the only Black paper in the city to let it know about the upcoming presidential race, or details about who’s running for the presidency or vice president slots. This has been the case for the past few years. Information has been hard to come by.
I know times have changed. It’s a new day. We have more educated Black people with everyone on computers and complex cell phones that will do just about everything. But when I look at the stats or should I say the facts, Blacks are still twice as unemployed as Whites, we are way behind in income, health, education, and anything else positive. So we still need advocates such as the NAACP to shout, to protest, and to simply ask questions that no one else can. Because of its history people still listen when the NAACP speaks. The problem is that they haven’t been saying much lately.
Issues such as housing, employment, Black-on-Black violence, blighted communities, police abuse, poor education, and the beat goes on. Yes, there are a lot of voices out there today fighting for these issues individually, but they need all the help they can get, and when the NAACP speaks people do listen. But we haven’t heard anything in such a long time, from national or local.
Dykes ran in the last election and lost, but she’s not giving up, she’s running again.
Looking at Walker’s credentials she appears to be a very solid candidate and would be something the local NAACP desperately needs to pump new blood into it because it’s nowhere close to what it was when Byrd Brown, Harvey Adams or Tim Stevens headed it. It’s no longer the leader in the civil rights or the human rights fight in the city.
The National NAACP hasn’t been anywhere close to what it used to be so naturally the state and city branches are going to be less aggressive, but Pittsburgh has almost dropped off the radar.
The state NAACP has become more visible of late in its leadership in the Voter ID fight with J. Wyatt Mondesire leading the way. The Courier ran a photo a few weeks ago of NAACP followers from Beaver County who went to Harrisburg to protest the Voter ID law and I didn’t see any Pittsburghers in the photo. It ran a photo of Mondesire last week and once again I didn’t see any of the Pittsburgh people in the photo showing western PA support. Maybe I just missed them.
I don’t know any of the current leaders of the Pittsburgh NAACP personally. I’m sure all are very nice people, but I’m just saying that it’s way past time for new leadership, and a new direction for the NAACP.
By saying that I’m not saying that Connie Parker would not make a good president. Hopefully she has her own agenda and will have some new ideals and directions she wishes to take the NAACP. But if it’s going to be the same as it has been the past few years then Walker is the best person for the job.
My question on Walker is can she be tough if Pitt is involved. She works for Pitt, and Pitt is one of the largest employers in western PA. The NAACP doesn’t pay any money, its volunteer. Do you put your paying job on the line for a volunteer position if there’s a problem involving Pitt? And with all the stuff she’s involved in will she have time? Just asking.
I’m somewhat disappointed that Marcella Lee, the second vice president, isn’t running. In talking to her she impressed me to the point that I think she would be the perfect leader. She impressed me as being a very tough lady, who really was concerned about the plight of Black people and wanted to do something about it. But then again, maybe she’s not a politician.
Are you wondering the same thing I’m wondering? Where are the men? Why isn’t there at least one running? Has there been one since Tim Stevens was ousted?
No matter what your feelings are about the candidates running, if you are a member of the NAACP please get out and vote in the November 13 elections for the candidate of your choice. It doesn’t matter if they are endorsed or not, remember neither Jake Wheatley nor R. Daniel Lavelle was endorsed in the last election and they both won their seats as a City Councilman and State Representative.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)