Tag Archives: Rick Turner

News Release: Charlottesville City Democratic Candidates Forum

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia) – The Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch of the NAACP,  the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR),  will hold a Democratic Primary Candidates Forum on Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 6-7:30 pm in the  Auditorium at the  Jefferson School African American  Heritage Center (233 4th Street NW, Charlottesville VA)

Democratic City Council Candidates Wes Bellamy, Kathy Galvin, Lena Saville, Mike Signer, and Dede Smith have all confirmed their attendance.

The theme of the forum is “How will Democratic Candidates improve the health of the African-American Community?” The forum seeks to provide an opportunity for voters to learn the candidates’ views on how, if elected, they will work with the African American community to positively impact environmental health, economic health, safety, physical and mental well-being as well as support life-long learning.

Candidates will share prepared statements, answer questions from the moderator, and take questions from the audience.  The forum is being organized by NAACP Health Committee Chair Holly Edwards, R.N., and is sponsored by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch of the NAACP, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR).  The forum will be moderated by Karen Waters-Wicks.

DATE:  April 3, 2015
CONTACT:  Dr. M. Rick Turner
Email: NAACP1947@gmail.com

Add African-American voices to law

From the Charlottesville Daily Progress Letters to the Editor, January 30, 2015

After reading The Daily Progress story “Albemarle supervisors agree to fund extra attorney for county commonwealth’s attorney’s office” (Daily Progress, 2015 January 7), and after subsequently visiting the Albemarle County and Charlottesville commonwealth’s attorney’s offices to inquire about the presence of African-American attorneys, I learned that neither office presently has any African-American attorneys.

This is an excellent opportunity to remind both Albemarle County’s commonwealth’s attorney, Denise Lunsford, and Charlottesville’s commonwealth’s attorney, Dave Chapman, that if they believe in racial diversity they should consider hiring African-American attorneys in these very important offices.

If they are to adhere to the mission of their offices — which is dedicated to pursing justice and protecting the rights and safety of the citizens of Albemarle and Charlottesville and their visitors — then they should include a racially diverse team of attorneys that reflects the diversity in the county’s and city’s population.

Mission statements talk about how the offices aspire to enforce criminal laws in a fair, compassionate, ethical and just manner. That’s a very important aspiration. But those are subjective terms, and what is fair, just or compassionate often depends on one’s perspective and background.

The commonwealth’s attorney’s offices — and all of the law offices in Albemarle and Charlottesville — therefore would benefit from having on their legal teams attorneys who come from a similar racial background as many of the people they represent or otherwise encounter in the criminal justice system.

Coming from similar background, an attorney might be able to better understand a broader array of the social dynamics that result in the disproportionately high rate of interaction that Africans-Americans and other people of color have with the criminal justice system, as well as the unique set of challenges that they may face.

That perspective would seem to be very valuable in many aspects of the duties of the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, such as determining how best to prevent crime from happening in the first place, negotiating settlements, and determining the most suitable and effective punishment when crime has occurred.

In short, such attorneys could bring to the table an important perspective of what constitutes fairness, justice and compassion, and could help the commonwealth, city, county and all the law offices fulfill their mandate to prosecute and handle issues of justice with integrity, equality and excellence.

M. Rick Turner