Created on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:39 Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:39 Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:39 Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer Hits: 866
NEW DIRECTION—New NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Constance Parker announced the reformation of the unit’s Legal Redress Committee during a January press conference. (Photo by J.L. Martello.)
Constance Parker, elected President of the NAACP Pittsburgh Unit in November, met with the New Pittsburgh Courier Editorial Board and said the unit has failed to communicate with and for the Black community in recent years, and that will change.
“We need to disseminate information much better,” she said during the Feb. 6 meeting. “The lack of communication in the community, with multiple organizations that don’t talk, that don’t like each other and tear each other down is a problem because we can’t afford business as usual.”
Parker said, as president, her agenda will focus on three main areas; health, education and employment, and she added she is very pleased to have a new Legal Redress Committee to address discrimination and abuse in those and other areas where African-Americans are being slighted, or worse.
“We have to take a legal approach on a lot of these issues,” she said. “We’re investigating two complaints of racial abuse at the Post Office on the North Side. Back in the day, that was enough to get some action taken. It will be again.”
Parker added that the legal team, which volunteered their services without her asking, would also be looking at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
“That incident where the woman called 911 and then was killed when the officer left is horrible. If the law can’t perform its job, the law should be changed,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a strong enough handle on the control of the police force.”
For her part, Parker said she would make herself more available to the public and the media—particularly the Courier—because it’s her duty as president.
“You owe it to the people to report what you’re doing, and to let them know you’re out there. Even if it’s just a phone call, you owe people a response.”
Parker said when it comes to mobilizing people for actions, the unit is blessed with some new younger members who can and will take the lead on that. Parker also said she intends to use her position on the Port Authority of Allegheny County board to make sure Black communities are not left without mass transit if service cuts are made.
She added that she is not there simply to do what Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wants.
“No. I’m not anybody’s rubber stamp,” she said.
She also said the unit will take a more hands on approach with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, noting that with 50 percent of Black male students dropping out, something has to be done
“We are getting short shrift in the schools, and all the board members need to be doing more about it,” she said.
Parker also said she would be naming new committee heads, which could include several new faces later this month. Current committee heads were scheduled to make presentations at the Unit’s Feb. 12 meeting.
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