published Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Rights groups still needed in America; NAACP membership surges this year

It has seemed in recent years that for every step forward in racial equality, our country has also taken a step or two backward.

That felt truest in the past several weeks when the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, and when the Zimmerman trial verdict was read and jurors began to speak out later about justice not being simple.

Even before those things, testimony in a New York civil rights case about the city's stop-and-frisk policing tactics made for increasing concern about racial profiling. And on Monday, a federal judge found that the stop-and-frisk tactic violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the Empire State. She called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.

"I also conclude that the city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner," Judge Shira A. Scheindlin wrote.

Sometimes the perfect storm of events -- in this case, the imperfect erosion of safeguards for equality and freedom -- leads to a stronger, grassroots reform.

The nearly moribund NAACP is rising again. People who had thought it was the organization of their mothers and grandfathers are taking another look.

As Times Free Press staff writer Yolanda Putman wrote Monday, membership and participation in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has spiked -- both locally and nationally.

Certainly in Chattanooga, the turnaround is notable: The nonprofit that touted itself as the biggest, baddest, boldest civil rights organization in the country had so little participation in its local branch that former President James Mapp had to take the head position again this year at age 85 because no one else wanted the job.

But then the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in June, intimating there now is no need for the oversight because Jim Crow is gone -- never mind that today there is more photo identification and residency red tape than ever required to vote.

Less than one month later, George Zimmerman was acquitted on charges of killing an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in July. If ever there has been evidence that there is no such thing as "post-racial" America, the din surrounding the Martin/Zimmerman case certainly proved it.

"The issues have heightened the community into action," Eric Atkins, secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP, told Putman. More people have joined the local NAACP in the past two months than have joined all year, he said, estimating that 25 people have joined since June. "The issues [voting rights and criminal justice] highlight the necessity and the relevancy of the NAACP. That's why we're seeing the renewed emphasis," Atkins said.

Nationally, more than 1.7 million people signed a petition on the NAACP website to ask the Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman, according to Eric Wingerter, the national NAACP's vice president for communications and new media. It's the largest number of signatures on a petition in the NAACP's 103-year history, he said.

Wingerter said thousands of people also joined the NAACP through online memberships since the Zimmerman verdict. He said the organization has about a half-million paid memberships, but added that about 2 million people participate when the NAACP calls for protest or community action.

Unfortunately, the NAACP is still needed. As are women's rights groups and other civil rights guardian groups. (Perhaps we even need a cyber rights guardian group now.)

As deep and strong and growing as this nation's diversity is, the thing that seems to be shrinking is peaceful compromise to ensure the equality of all of us.

If we need more rights groups to give voice to that, so be it.

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conservative said...

The NAACP is a national joke and a national disgrace.

What have they done for the black family?

What have they done to curtail the black on black violence and crime?

What have they done to reduce black teenage unemployment?

What have they done to turn back the birthrate of out of wedlock black children other than kill them before they are born?

What have they done to get black people off the government plantation?

August 13, 2013 at 6:52 a.m.
klifnotes said...

conservative, all those complaints and then some are societal problems, that are found any racial, class or ethnic group. You could also ask yourself what has the white community done about mass shooters, who are far more often white? What has all those white hate groups and tea party groups, besides hating on blacks and Latinos and working on their removal done for white on white violence? Example: The recent female who was kidnapped and her brother and mother murdered by a white guy who'd become infatuated with her. Took almost an entire side of the country to hunt him down to rescue her. NAACP has nothing to do with black teen unemployment. They don't own the business that hire. Some companies that still hire or don't hire based on race. Having a baby out of wedlock is a personal decision, be the person black or white. Whites kill their unborn, and some already born, at an alarming rate higher than blacks. Unborn, they usually have the benefit of going to a private doctor, rather than an abortion clinic, where the problem can be done away with quietly. That's like the old military quote: Only the enlisted members come down with STDs. While the brass gets diagnosed with a urinary tract infaction. There are more whites on theat government plantation* than blacks. That much was realized when years ago there was massive across board cuts in TennCare and it was revealed a mass number of poor whites had been cut from the program.

So get your facts straight before spewing off at the mouth. And that doesn't imply I care much for the NAACP either. They seem to only take up cases someone else had dared to do the leg work and where it seems the case is going to be successful. The organization originally turned down the case of the Scottsboro Boys because they didn't want the taint on their image if the boys turned out to be guilty. Which gives the appearance of their being the badazz and most powerful civil rights organization.It was the American Communist Party that originally took on the case. Then the NAACP came on board when they realized the case was going to make history. The last two local NAACP presidents turned more people away that went to them for help on local civil and human rights abuse complaints, especially involving police abuses and work related discrimination cases. Plus, it was a little known organization named Change that got the Trayvon Marton story out there. A petition was started on their site that when national and international, as the Sanford police went to the media and said the case would be close with no charges filed against Zimmerman. That's when someone started a petition on Change dot org to get the story out. Otherwise, the story would have remained local, and their local NAACP and national one set twiddling their thumbs monitoring the situation, while Zimmerman would have been allowed to walk free and go about hunting down next victim.

August 13, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Adding:

On Stop/Frisk: This is a U.S. national tragedy, and not just relevant to NY. The practice can be found taking place all across America, even right here in Chattanooga.

On Trayvon Martin:

Vietnamese Refugee Artist, Huong, has created a peace mural representing the Trayvon Martin tragedy she hopes to become a traveling exhibit that will go all the way to Washington D.C. At present, the mural is set up at the Capitol building in Tallahassee Florida. The American Color Mural

The story of the artist, her inspiration and the mural can be viewed here:

http://www.peacemural.org/

August 13, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.
conservative said...

kliff, I hope someone out there reads your tome.

August 13, 2013 at 11:29 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Klif those society problems are found at a much greater rate in the black community. (Do you understand percentages?) When is the last time you have heard the NAACP, or any black "leaders" of note, discuss the breakdowns in families as the single biggest issue facing the race, or how behavior is an early indicator of future problems such as jail time? It's easier to just blame the rich, whites, slavery 150 years ago+, than expect improvement.

One more time, do you understand percentages, such as blacks committing a much larger portion of crime than the small population ?

August 13, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.
klifnotes said...

Let's LB, I do understand percentages quite well. Apparently, you don't. Here's one for you: Overall crime statistics suggest whites still commit 70% of all crimes. Betcha didn't know that did you? You're speaking of types of crimes when broken down, no doubt. Which often leaves out mass killings, murder-suicides, serial killers, serial rapists, child-molesters, white collar crimes etc. ;)

August 13, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

L:B: When was the last time you walked down to urban Chattanooga an offered your help to build a positive family attitude?

August 13, 2013 at 10:50 p.m.
chet123 said...

LAUGHINGBOY....

BEFORE YOU START FEELING SUPERIOR....CHECK INTO THE SOCIETY PROBLEM OF YOUR OWN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE IMPOVISH OR YOUR COMMUNITIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CLASS HIERARCHY..WHERE INCOMES ARE MEEK....

YOU DONT HAVE GO TO THE MOUNTAINS OF WEST VINGINIA.....CHECK AROUND .....TAKE 41 SOUTH THRU TUNNEL HILLS WHERE TRAILERS LINE THE HIGHWAY OR HIGHWAY 27 THRU SODDY DAISEY...OR THE BACK WOOD OF PIKEVILLE.....

WHY DONT FOX NEWS DO AN Expose ON YOUR OWN SUBCULTURE COMMUNITIES.....

LAUGHINGBOY...I CHALLENGE YOU TO DO THE NUMBERS....THERE ARE MORE WHITE IMPOVISH THAN BLACK IN AMERICA...AND THERE ARE MORE WHITES ON WELFARE THAN BLACKS....YOU DO THE NUMBERS..IF YOU CAN BE HONEST....EVENTHOUH I THINK YOU CANT BE HONEST

STILL FEEL SUPERIOR???? HA HA HA HA HA!

DUMB BUTT!!!

August 14, 2013 at 9:35 a.m.
chet123 said...

CONSERVATIVE.....

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS FIND OUT THE TRUE PURPOSE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH(AND ITS NOT PUTTING CROSSES IN PEOPLE FACES) INSTEAD OF MEDDLING INTO NAACP......YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN BUT FROM YOUR POSTING YOU REALLY DO HAVE A CLUE WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT....

YOU ARE NOT THE VOICE OF WISDOM NOR EVEN COMMON SENSE!!!

August 14, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
chet123 said...

GET SOME CREDIBILITY!!

August 14, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Chet apparently you don't understand percentages either.

August 14, 2013 at 3:08 p.m.
klifnotes said...

Actually, LB, we both do understand percentages, but apparently you don't.

Plus, percentages are often manipulated. Even the ones taken by federal government. When it comes reporting crimes, cities and towns have the option to voluntarily report the crime or not. Many don't report because they don't want their city to be portrayed in a negative light. Gentrification plans helped to ring in over-zealous crime reporting, as an excuse to uproot and remove poor, lower tax paying citizens to make way for higher level incomes to move in.

There really is a connection between crime-gangs-and plans to gentrify targeted areas throughout the U.S. Which were primarily poor and minority. Locally, it all began back in the 1980s. I can personally recall when the terms gang-crime-gentrification started being batted around in the same sentence and in not so hushed tones.

August 14, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

There you go, crime numbers are inflated. Tell that to all those shot here in the last few years, the ones around to hear you.

August 14, 2013 at 11:21 p.m.
klifnotes said...

You're finally catching on, LB. Crime numbers and reports can often be either inflated or downplayed. Inflated, usually in urban areas and communities, and downplayed in suburban ones and towns, that don't want the negative stigma of being a crime ridden area or town attached.

Example: Attending a neighborhood meeting once a cop speaking at the meeting advised his audience to report everything. The more calls made to police, the more a police presence would bring to the community. It didn't matter if the attendees at the meeting exaggerated or outright lied to get a more police presence (which many did), just make the damN call! Heck! Sort of like, *you scratch our backs, we'll scratch yours." It's about job security, promotions and overtime pay too. dontcha knows?!!

August 15, 2013 at 8:59 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

All those local shootings this year, are those made up or exaggerated?

August 15, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Nope, they're not, LB. However, all those mysteriousl vehicles pulling up seemingly out of nowhere, then taking off without a trace, are suspect. And it's not at all difficult to stir things up, so to speak, and create volatile situations that are likely to explode in already fragile existences. All it takes is a few rumors here and there, and next thing you know everyone's going for one another's jugular vein. See: throwaways, New Yorker: 10/03/2012

August 15, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

It's a conspiracy.

August 15, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Nope! Lb--no conspiracy theory here, just an American history lesson. ;)

August 15, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Your initials wouldn't be BMW, would they? If so, it would explain a lot.

August 15, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.
klifnotes said...

LaughingBoy said... Your initials wouldn't be BMW, would they? If so, it would explain a lot.

Nope! I don't drive one of those. ;)

Actually, it's KGY. Or maybe chet in lower-case or alpro or or or :)

August 15, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
FreedomJournal said...

PRESS RELEASE (18 August 2013)

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) School of Excellence

Peace be unto you,

The FreedomJournal Press announces the recent appointment of Carl A. Patton as an Adjutant Professor in the African American Studies Department at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Patton has a MA in history with a specialization in African American Studies from Fisk University, 1973 and is ABD Atlanta University 1982, with a specialization in African American Studies.

Patton will teach a course “Introduction to African American Studies” Fall 2013. Many insiders therefore note that MTSU is one of the leading academic Universities in the State and throughout the nation. It is also evident that the MTSU Blue Raider Athletic Department is well on the way to be a dominate force on all fields of play.

We also report that Brother Patton will be privileged to work with a brilliant, young and energetic intellectual who is the Director of the African American Studies Department. Meanwhile, MTSU continues to attract more students as it continues to be the largest and fastest growing University in the state. Academic achievement is therefore an expressed mission throughout the University Center.

The poetic side of the FreedomJournal is reminded of the essence of “blooming to an everlasting Sun rise.”

“GO BLUE RAIDERS”

Peace,

FreedomJournal Press

August 18, 2013 at 6:49 p.m.
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