2014 End of Year Report

Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP (#7057)
End of the Year Report -2014

It’s not unusual for the NAACP to concentrate so much on issues of race. It is because we know and understand and want others to understand that RACE MATTERS.

I am inspired by a recent quote by Supreme Court Justice – Sonia Sotomayor:

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effect of centuries of racial discrimination. We ought notto sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality thatexists in our society.

Whenever an issue comes to our attention that involves racial injustice or the violation of civil and human right of the African American community–the NAACP has a presence.  We are present and involved in the struggle for civil rights and equality in the Albemarle-Charlottesville community. The community counts on us to be involved.  We embrace our mission–speaking truth to power in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community. It shows that we value and respect Black lives. We care enough to challenge authority and to stand up.

In African-American communities across the country, it has become commonplace that literally every week, the national media reports on some incident that ignites debate and discussion over civil rights. At the center of many of these discussions is the increasing and alarming violation of the civil rights of Black and Brown people by the police.

As we are aware, the callous murders of young black men and boys –even as young as 12 years old–at the hands of White police officers are again the top story. I can’t help but believe that much of the violence and disruption in Black communities across the country is due to the angry political backlash caused by the election of a Black President.

The NAACP, other civil rights organizations, and the Black church continue to speak out strongly in response to these incidents. Yet, as we continue to grieve, we find no solutions to these injustices, and we fear that in the coming days they might very likely go unabated.

The questions remain: What do we do? What does America do? What do Black people and other caring people do after we speak, write, cry and pray about this senseless brutality?  Pastors of the local churches in our areas have cautioned the Police Chiefs in the City and in the County that unless they develop a viable workable plan that will avoid an incident in which an egregious act will be committed by a police officer, we may be sitting on a time bomb.

Some suggest more dialogue on race –though a recent Pew Survey reported that a plurality of Whites say “the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.” Other suggestions include: more training of police; more discussion with our young men about their inappropriate behavior and their saggy pants, better instruction on how to act when stopped by the police.

It seems to me that further discussion and training regarding accountability and strong leadership along with annual training in areas designed to improve community relations and to save Black lives would go a long way toward closing the divide that exists between police and the communities they serve.  We know that violence is not the answer.

The latest alarming statistics regarding injustice by the police and the courts are drawing attention that hopefully will not be met with the silence we have witnessed in the past. We must remain hopeful that somehow we will come to our collective senses and recognize that a national conversation, a national movement on race and viable solutions to this injustice are attainable goals and that the primary solutions to all of these human tragedies lie in our hearts.  Reaffirming for ourselves and our children that the “dignity and worth of our fellow human beings and all of life” is worthy of our utmost effort, –we can do this.

This year we made great strides in advancing our mission of ensuring the political, educational, social and economic equality of all persons. Our recorded minutes and agenda of attendance, involvement and participation in community activities in 2014 of the Branch will be available on our website.

Highlights of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch of the NAACP 2014 activities and participation include:

1. Our response rate to complainants: Over 100 complaints have come to our attention via phone calls, walks into our office, stops on the street or in stores. Many people appreciate our presence, but abhor the incidents of racial profiling and incidents of disrespect they experience every day.

2 Honoring Reverend Benjamin Bunn, the former pastor of First Baptist Church, during our Founder’s Day Celebration

3. Publication of editorials regarding civil rights issues in the Daily Progress.

4. Our successful 2014 Freedom Fund Banquet and Program.

5. Our participation in the annual Juneteenth Celebration at PVCC.

6. Our participation in UVA’s Freedom Summer class.

7. Our awarding of the annual scholarship (NAACP AND FEI) to a local high school graduate.

8. Our participation in the community meeting on issues of race and racial disparities in the Juvenile Justice System.

9. Our participation in the Jefferson Schools AAHC’s annual Nelson Mandela Read-In.

10 Our participation in the Community Day at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

11. Our participation in NAACP Conference calls on Voting Rights.

12. Conducting voter registration drives at various African American Community Days.

13. Our participation in the PHAR activities at Legal Aid.

14. Our participation in the Black Church and HIV-AID discussion/promotion.

15. The relocation of our monthly branch meeting site to the Mary Williams Community Center in Jefferson School.

16. Our meetings with the Police Chiefs in Charlottesville AND Albemarle County.

17. Our WTJU/WINA talks on Social Justice and civil rights issues.

18. Our Legal Redress meeting with local lawyers.

19. Members in Good Standing of our Branch – 200.

20. New membership in 2014 -20.

21. Life members in 2014 -57.

22.  Membership renewals in 2014 – 23.

23. Our participation in the Piedmont Fair Housing Advisory Group.

24.  Our participation in the Dialogue on Race.

25. Our member and office/Executive Committee participation on the Slavery Commissions at UVA.

26. Our participation in the NAACP Webinar Training for Voter Registration.

27. Participation in the panel discussion at the African American Heritage Center with other former Presidents of the NAACP from Charlottesville.

28. Our participation in the active community discussion on the Atlantic Magazine article “The Case For Reparations”

29. Our preparations for Direct action:

Methods- “The methods used to obtain the Association’s objective shall be direct action, litigation, legislation and political action. Units are encouraged to follow an independent course of action set out by the Unit’s membership as long as it is consistent with the Association’s policies and objectives.”

30. Our publication of all events of our chapter to the community via email, website, newspaper, church announcements and word of mouth.

31. Our participation in Black History Month events in the Charlottesville public schools.

Under the direction of the new National President of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks (a former Civil Rights attorney), leadership has focused on Criminal Justice and on fighting the rollback of the Voting Rights Act. He envisions the diversity of the NAACP’s membership enhancing our overall efforts to find and work on sustainable solutions. His recent leadership and participation in Ferguson, Missouri’s March (Journey for Freedom) from Ferguson to St. Louis was inspirational. Let’s join with him in working toward solving the problems that beset our communities and our nation.

M. Rick Turner, Ph.D.
President, Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP