NAACP needs new direction

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We just completed the Big One, the U.S. Presidential election, which was after my deadline for this column, so I will deal with that next week. But we do have another critical election coming up Nov. 13 at the Hill House from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and that’s who will lead the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP.

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The Courier recently cancelled a proposed forum we were going to sponsor for the three NAACP presidential candidates because one candidate said she couldn’t make it and wasn’t willing to send a representative to speak for her, and the other just didn’t get back to us.

We thought it was important for the members of the NAACP and the community to hear directly from the candidates how they stood on the issues since the president of 10 years was stepping down. But only one candidate apparently felt this was important.

The NAACP use to be the leading group in the country in the fight for civil and human rights for Blacks, but the past 10 to 15 years they have been declining nationally and locally in their influence primarily because they haven’t changed with the times. They’ve become a social group instead of street fighters.

In the proposed forum for the local election for example:

First we had the forum scheduled for Nov. 1 but had to move it to Nov. 8 because of the venue. Before each date occurred I called the NAACP office leaving a message of what we were trying to do and for the candidates to call me or leave their numbers with the secretary so I could call them to discuss this event. Well, we had one candidate call. Neither, of the other candidates returned my calls, for Nov. 1. Well when we switched to Nov. 8, I once again reached out by contacting the NAACP office. I was later told that one couldn’t make it, and was later told she wasn’t willing to send someone to speak on her behalf. I’ve still not received a call from the other. Again only one person responded with “I have something else going Nov. 8 but this is important, I will make it happen, I will be there.”

In an effort to locate one of the candidates we ran into all kinds of problem with her phone listings. All were either dislocated or the number had been changed for years. These are NAACP presidential candidates we were trying to locate. What if something major in the city occurred and we as the only Black paper in the city were trying to locate them for their reactions? We have work numbers and cell numbers of just about every Black leader in the city, but not the NAACP.

Because of groups like the NAACP opportunities for Blacks have improved considerably, but when we look at employment, school drop-outs, income, education, housing, crime, business ownership, you name it, Blacks are way, way behind Whites, which means we still have a long ways to go, and if the Tea Party movement continues to grow, and if Affirmative Action is totally killed, we are going to be in big trouble. Who is going to fight the fight for the little people who can’t do it themselves? Who is going to stand up to the people who are trying to force us back into the Good Ole Days of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s when Whites ruled everything, and diversity was a bad word? When White males were thought of as the only intelligent people in this country?

The NAACP, both local and national, needs to be revamped if it’s going to be a force in the 21st century. Right now it has lost its respect from the community and its leadership role as well. We no longer look to the NAACP when there’s a problem, we go elsewhere, CEA, B-PEP, Urban League, and others. What is their stand on the stop the violence campaign? I don’t see them listed as a part of any of the many groups fighting to stop the Black on Black violence throughout this city or country. Nor any of the other problems I mentioned. The only thing they seem to come out for is if a White policeman kills, or beats a Black person. But isn’t that person just as dead or just as hurt if a Black person did it?

It’s time for new leadership, a new direction, and hopefully Deborah Walker can take them there. And once again I ask. Where are YOU, young Black men? The sister is going to need all the help she can get.

(Ulish Carter is managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)

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