Well it’s over. We have a new president. Oh, sorry. I’m not talking about President Obama, but the Pittsburgh NAACP.
Yes, I supported Deborah Walker, because I thought, and still think she would have been an outstanding president moving them into the 21st century. But she lost to Connie Parker, 171 to 146, so now I know how Mitt Romney supporters feel.
So I’m telling myself what I’ve been telling Romney followers. Get over it. Move on, and do what you can to help the new president.
That is the case with the NAACP. They are a vital organization for Blacks throughout the country and Pittsburgh in particular, which means I will once again do everything I can to help the new president move this organization forward and to make it once again one of the leading organization fighting for Black people’s equal rights.
Connie Parker has been the first vice president for the NAACP the past decade or more, working with former President M. Gayle Moss. But in order for the NAACP to be the leader it has been in the past they are going to have to move away from just marches and protests, and only becoming upset when a White police officer shoots a Black person; they must become involved and engaged in the Black-on-Black violence throughout the city and country; the loss of the Black males in the school system through drop-outs, and the achievement gap; and the lack of diversity in just about every major corporation and institution in this city.
This country is at a very critical stage right now, and Obama is going to have to make some critical decisions, and part of that is drastic budget cuts on social programs, which may be devastating to the Black community. So we are going to need a strong Pittsburgh NAACP to stand up and fight for African-Americans, but not just on police matters but on bread and butter matters as well, such as employment and education.
The NAACP has been a leader throughout the years in the Black struggle for equality, but they have not always been out front. Sometimes they led sometimes they added their support, just as long as the job got done.
There’s one other huge problem facing the NAACP and that’s funding. This is more of a national problem than just local, but I don’t see this organization really moving to the level that it should until it’s able to get funding from somewhere to at least be able to pay a president or executive director. Look at what Esther Bush has done with the Pittsburgh Urban League. The NAACP is a completely volunteer organization, which means all its officers are either working for someone else or retired. If someone else is paying your salary, then your first responsibility is to them. So what happens when there’s a major press conference or major issue at the same time as a major conference, meeting or something at work? Or what happens when your boss becomes one of the businesses or people discriminating?
I commend Connie Parker for even wanting this position, a non-paying position in which you are going to be constantly criticized no matter what you do. I commend her for her involvement for the past decade or more. So I’m looking forward to working very closely with her in the future, when she calls press conferences, emails me or calls me to send a reporter and photographer to events or affairs affecting the Black community.
The New Pittsburgh Courier is the only Black newspaper serving Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. And we have the same goals and objectives as the NAACP. So we have to work together. I don’t have anything personal against anyone at the NAACP, and am willing to work with anyone, which includes all the newly elected officers. We are working for the same cause, the betterment of the Black community. All I ask is that I be given a working phone number, other than the NAACP office, to contact people, and that you work with us, just like the other Black organizations and groups have over the years.
I congratulate all the new officers on your election, so let’s move forward in 2013, let’s get to work. There’s a lot of work to do.
(Ulish Carter is managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)