Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham, CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

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THE FOLLOWING IS AN OPEN LETTER TO REV.  FRANKLIN GRAHAM ADDRESSING MORAL VALUES AND GRAHAM’S POLITICAL AD.  THIS LETTER WILL POST ONLINE (www.naacpnc.org) LATER THIS EVENING (10/29/12) ALLOWING OTHER SUPPORTIVE RELIGIOUS  LEADERS TO SIGN AND SUPPORT IN ADDITION TO THOSE LISTED.

 

 AN OPEN LETTER TO REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM

REGARDING VALUES AND VOTING

 

 

October 29, 2012

 

Rev. Franklin Graham

President and CEO

Billy Graham Evangelical Association

1 Billy Graham Parkway

Charlotte, NC 28201

 

Dear Rev. Graham:

 

            We write you today as a brother in the faith and as a member of God’s human family. This letter comes to you in Christian love but also with great hurt and concern. Earlier this year your acts as the President/CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association compelled us to ask you to examine yourself and to cease arousing unwarranted suspicion regarding President Barack Obama’s Christian faith.

 

            In February 2012, you expressed your doubts about his faith on national television, partly because he had tried to engage Muslim nations and leaders in a dialogue about the world’s future. North Carolina evangelicals and prophetic ministers, steeped in the African American church, asked you to cease arousing unwarranted suspicion about the President’s faith. At that time a group of Christian clergy and scholars from North Carolina wrote to you in private as the scriptures first demands. Among many things in our pastoral and prophetic critique we said to you, March 5, 2012:

 

"…It seems to us that your apology is helpful and yet narrow and almost grudging.  And we feel a reluctant confidence that you and many other Evangelicals will continue to disparage President Obama and the faith of other Christians through a critique that pushes him and many of us outside the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith.   

 

It is not your inclination to criticize that concerns us.  Like you, we believe that our Christian faith calls us to critique the powers and policies of our society through the lens of Christian ethics. Many of the things for which you and other Evangelicals have assailed the President for doing are not anti-Christian; they are at the very heart of Christ’s work among us!

 

President Obama’s faith was formed in a prophetic Christian tradition that certainly resonates with our own traditions, experiences and Scriptural readings.  In Dreams from My Father, he writes of the first stirrings of his Christian faith: "…at the foot of that cross… I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharoah, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones.  Those stories of survival and freedom and hope became our story, my story… at once unique and universal, black and more than black…

 

If you would extend to your brothers and sisters in Christ the benefit of the doubt for a moment, does it surprise you that we experience these constant attacks on our president’s faith not just as assaults on President Obama but as an assault on the fundamental Christian faith that has helped to shape the moral conscience of our nation?  This faith tradition has historically helped America address issues such as slavery, lynching, segregation and discrimination, economic injustice, and caring for the material needs of the poor.

 

…The biblical prophets and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ viewed injustice, poverty and the absence of social consciousness as the greatest moral concern of the faith…"

 

 Click here to read 03/05/12 letter to Graham in its entirety

 

You were apparently unmoved by our criticism. Last week, as the CEO of the non-profit, tax-exempt Billy Graham Evangelical Association, you used the Association’s funds to buy expensive full page ads in major newspapers in North Carolina and other parts of the country to further arouse unwarranted suspicion about the President’s personal faith. The paid advertisement contained transparent insinuations about "support for the nation of Israel", the "sanctity of life" and the "biblical definition of marriage," with a photo of your father and his signature. Your ad implied he wrote the text of what was a clear endorsement of the President’s opponent because he was more of a Christian than the President. The political endorsement was particularly ironic, since the non-profit you preside over has, until a couple of weeks ago, questioned whether Mormonism is part of the Christian faith.

 

            We are intrigued by the challenge of Dr. William C. Martin, of Rice University, who wrote a glowing biography about your father called "A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story" when he saw copies of the ad you authorized over your Association’s name. Dr. Martin said that your father, "after realizing that he’d been cynically manipulated by Richard Nixon, . . . resisted joining the Religious Right… he [Billy Graham] warned religious leaders ‘to be wary of exercising political influence’ lest they lose their spiritual impact." Dr. Martin suggested that you "steered" your father to make this statement, since Billy Graham’s interest in homosexuality was "never central" to his ministry. To test his suspicion, he suggested a small group of reporters meet with Billy Graham to hear directly his comments on the assertions made in the statement you authorized to be published.

 

            If Billy Graham has indeed changed, and has decided to join the Religious Right in cynically promoting these divisive issues for our Christian faith community, which wants to restore the closed, exclusive society of the past, historians should hear it from him first hand, since his legacy is one of openness and inclusivity. We were brought up on stories of Billy Graham tearing down the ropes of Jim Crow at his crusade, and his invitation to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach with him at a crusade. It is a radical departure for Billy Graham to now exclude from the souls he might reach in his ministry for a clearly partisan and theologically narrow critique.

 

Although you told the media "If you want to think I’m behind all of it, I don’t care," we respectfully ask you to reconsider this flippant remark. Your father’s historical legacy is at stake.

 

We have major differences with those who today call themselves ‘conservatives,’ while resisting and ignoring so much of God’s character. They say so much about what God says so little, and so little about what God says so much. True bibliocentric conservatism would not do this.

 

            This sort of cherry-picking easy parts of Christianity is not a new practice. During slavery there were those who claimed deep adherence to scripture in their support of slavery and racism. They pulled out a few texts to build a whole system of injustice, while ignoring the multiplicity of texts that condemned human oppression. Though claiming to be Biblicists, they ignored as much of the Bible as they could, as though a half-reading of the Bible justified slavery.

 

During the Civil Rights Movement there were many who found ways to dismiss the biblical call for justice and righteousness. Many of them were so liberal in their dispelling of God’s demands that they criticized Dr. King; they said he was not acting like a preacher. And he had to remind them that if you read and accept the whole counsel of the tribune of God…you must challenge the evils of racism, classism (poverty) and militarism.

 

We must remind ourselves to hold on to a faith that will not shrink and declare that with God some things never change. When Micah an 8th century B.C. prophet from the village of Moresheth in Judah was called, he raised the question that everyone must ask when there are attempts to hi-jack the moral and righteous standards of our faith to serve the petty schemes of men. ‘What doth the Lord require?’ Micah asked. What never changes, from age to age with God? What is always God’s primary focus for his people? What transcends our labels? Our political alliances? Our situational ethics? What is greater than who has the political majority at any moment?  Do justice, Love mercy! Walk humbly before your God!

           

            When Jesus came he said in Luke’s gospel: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised and to declare the acceptable year of the Lord"

 

            We hear so much clamoring about values especially from you and our colleagues who claim to conserve the tenets of the Christian faith and moral values. Why is that which you seek to conserve so narrow. You would do well to remember that in the deepest traditions of our faith, of our values, of our sense of morality and righteousness, is the requirement that we as a society as a government remember that our responsibility to the poor, vulnerable, those on the margins is at the top of God’s agenda.

 

            Lest we be hypocritical and potentially heretical, lest we lead political leaders to be guilty of perjury when they place their hands on the Bible to be sworn into public office, should we not make it clear that the sacred text of both the Hebrew faith and the Christian faith contains more than 300 verses on the issue of justice and poverty, God’s deep concern for both as the priority of Gods agenda.

            Except for the sin of worshipping false gods of money, greed, and selfishness, there is no other sin more denounced by our holy scriptures than social injustice and refusing to make the playing field fair for all.  Justice, love, grace and forgiveness are at the heart of our holy faith. Have you not heard or read the following:

 

Deuteronomy 15:7. "If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother;"

 

Proverbs 31:8. [Commandment to kings.] "Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy."

 

Isaiah 10:1-3. "Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who continually record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights… Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar?"

 

Isaiah 58. "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;"

 

James 5:1-6. "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. …Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, thar you have withheld, cries out against you;"

 

Matthew 25:35-36. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

 

            These texts are so primary in our faith tradition and yet secondary in your critique and call for a focus on moral values.  Excluding this focus makes any claim to concerns for Christian values hollow at best and hypocritical and heretical at worst. Not only in your call for Americans to vote their values did you not maintain a focus on the centerpieces of the scriptures you did not focus on even the centerpiece of our nation’s priorities.

 

            Do you not remember what Jonathan Winthrop said years ago about this nation’s moral focus in his "City on a Hill Sermon"?

 

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with… For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.

 

            Furthermore, are not the values we hold dear expressed clearly in the preamble of this nation’s Constitution?

 

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

            It seems strange that the notions of justice, unity, tranquility and even welfare are lifted up as values in our founding documents, but are often spoken of despairingly by those who claim to represent conservative Christian values. The selective and narrow nature of your "values" critique when held in the light of our deepest traditions and weighed in the balance seem deeply suspect of a true concern for values and more like a partisan push for a political purpose. The NAACP and many of our faith partners have joined together and listed the following critical issues that face this nation regardless of political party: 1) economic sustainability – addressing systemic poverty, full employment, living wages and labor rights, 2) educational equality for all students and children, 3) healthcare for all and ensuring access to Medicare and Medicaid, 4) addressing the continuing inequalities in the criminal justice system for black, brown and poor white people, 5) protecting, defending and expanding voting rights for all people.

 

            We believe your father is rooted in a much broader and deeper perspective more akin to the grander traditions of our faith and moral values of our nation. We believe you have gone astray, seduced by the sirens of money and power. Again, in Christian love, we renew our challenge to you. If we are wrong, and your father in his latter years has changed his view of a more democratic, a more inclusive, a more loving world, let him tell us directly. Moreover, join us in ensuring that the values expressed on behalf of the Christian faith are more representative of the essential issue of justice rather than the wedge issues of a particular political agenda attempting to consecrate itself with the covering of Christian faith.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

  

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President

North Carolina NAACP

 

/s/

Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown, Jr., Chair

NC NAACP State Religious Affairs Committee

 

/s/

Rev. Dr. Gregory Moss, President

Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention

Immediate Past President, General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

 

/s/

Dr. Rodney Sadler, Professor

Union Presbyterian Seminary

 

/s/

Bishop Tonya Rawls,

NC Council of Churches

 

/s/

Rev. Leslie Oliver,

NC Council of Churches

 

/s/

Dr. Frederick A. Wilson, Pastor

Life Baptist Church

 

/s/

Dr. Thomas W. Samuels, President

NC-VA Primitive Baptist State Convention

 

/s/

Rev. Dwayne Walker, Pastor

Little Rock AME Zion Church

 

/s/

Rev. Elvin Sadler, Pastor

Steele Creek AME Zion Church

 

/s/

Rev. Mack McRae, Pastor,

Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church

 

/s/

Elder Timothy Lyons,

St. John’s Church, Primitive Baptist

 

/s/

Rev. Dr. John Mendez, Pastor

Emanuel Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, NC

 

/s/

Rev. Sheldon Shipman, Pastor

Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church of Charlotte, NC

 

/s/

Rev. Dr. Fred Gibson, Pastor

Greater Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC

 

/s/

Rev. Dr. Peter Wherry, Moderator

United Missionary Baptist Association of Charlotte, NC

 

/s/

Rev. Bobby Houze, Pastor

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC

 

 

 

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

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NAACP Makes its Case Before UN Council


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"We are asking the United Nations for two things," the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, president of the NAACP’s North Carolina State Conference, said in a statement Wednesday hailing the Geneva trip. "First, to investigate the attacks on voting rights by multiple state governments across the United States, and second, to ensure that the global community understands issues surrounding the attack on voting rights, and to help safeguard against these sorts of laws being replicated in other countries."

NAACP Makes its Case Before UN Council
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 5:54 am
By: Frederick Cosby, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com

America’s oldest civil rights organization told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Switzerland Wednesday that changes in voting laws approved in several states threaten human and civil rights and is a direct response to President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

A delegation from the NAACP went before the council in Geneva and presented the argument that a spate of new laws passed in more than a dozen mostly Republican-controlled states is an effort to suppress the votes of minorities and others after they turned out in record numbers in 2008 to help elect America’s first black president.

"These restrictions on the right to vote are a direct response to two developments: Unprecedented levels of political participation of black voters in the United States in 2008, and a reaction to the significant growth of communities of color as reflected in the 2010 Census," the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Ryan Haygood told the council.

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous told the council that voters of color are under siege in the United States.

"We are here today because in the past 12 months, more U.S. states have passed more laws pushing more U.S. citizens out of the ballot box than in any year in the past century," he said. "Historically, when people have come after our right to vote, they have done so to make it easier to come after so many of our rights that we hold dear."

Roslyn M. Brock, the NAACP’s national board chairman, told the international panel that as of December 2011, some 14 states have passed 25 measures "designed to restrict or limit ballot access of voters of color, threatening to disenfranchise millions of eligible Americans."

"Furthermore, since January 2012, additional states have introduced measures that, if enacted, would result in the disenfranchisement of even more racial and ethnic minorities," she said.

Some of the measures either approved or under consideration by states require people to show some form of government-approved photo ID or provide proof of citizenship in order to register or vote.

Other changes include limiting third-party voter registration drives, shortening or eliminating early voting, ending same-day voter registration and permanently forbidding convicted felons who’ve served their time from voting.

Some states added unique provisions to their new voting laws. In Texas, photo ID from public, state-funded higher education institutions is insufficient for voting, but a state concealed gun license is okay. The Justice Department Monday blocked Texas from implementing its photo ID voting law, asserting that it discriminated against Hispanics.

In Florida, the GOP-run state legislature decided to end voting on the last Sunday before Election Day. A bulk of the state’s black voters cast their ballots on that final Sunday in 2008 as part of a "Souls to the Polls" drive run by black churches.

"These forms of disenfranchisement prevent those most in need of an advocate from the ability to elect someone who will represent their concerns: The need for a decent public education, for a health care system that addresses their specific demographic needs, as well as the creation of decent jobs, a functional criminal justice system and other basic human needs," Hilary Shelton, the NAACP’s senior vice president for advocacy, told the Human Rights Council.

The NAACP delegation took two living examples with them to Geneva – U.S. citizens who told the panel how they would be adversely impacted by the new laws.

"I struggle with the fact that as of today, I cannot vote in Virginia because this is where my offense occurred," said Kemba Smith Pradia, an author and lecturer who was sentenced to 24-1/2 years in prison on a first-time crack cocaine charge. After serving ….. six years behind bars, she was granted clemency by then-President Bill Clinton. "But in other states I wouldn’t have to deal with this issue. It is as if other states understand the need for forgiveness and the right of citizens not to be isolated from the rest of the population because they have been denied this human right."

Austin Alex, a student at Texas Christian University, spoke to the Human Rights Council on behalf of America’s college students, who face the prospect of having a tough time voting in 2012 because of photo ID laws and the move by some states to scale back on the number of absentee ballots they mail out.

"Other states have passed similar laws that no longer allow student ID to be acceptable form of voter identification," Alex said of Texas’ law. "I am concerned about the impact this will have on the right of students like me to vote."

Established in 2006, the UN Human Rights Council consists of 47 members representing 13 countries from Africa, 13 from Asia, eight from Latin America and the Caribbean, seven from Western Europe and other states, and six Eastern European nations.

The council has no direct power to change U.S. law or laws in any other nation. But with the weight of the United Nations behind it, it does have the ability to facilitate change indirectly through the international court of public opinion.

"We are asking the United Nations for two things," the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, president of the NAACP’s North Carolina State Conference, said in a statement Wednesday hailing the Geneva trip. "First, to investigate the attacks on voting rights by multiple state governments across the United States, and second, to ensure that the global community understands issues surrounding the attack on voting rights, and to help safeguard against these sorts of laws being replicated in other countries."

 

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NAACP

News Release: NC NAACP, Democracy NC, LWV and Randolph Institute to Sue Over Redistricting Maps

Stationary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2011

For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137

Mrs. Amina Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700

Atty. Jennifer Marsh, Legal Redress Coordinator, 919-682-4700

Atty. Irv Joyner, Legal Redress Chair, 919-530-6293

Atty. Al McSurely, Communications Chair, lawyers@mcsurely.com

DURHAM – Yesterday, after it spent 60 days looking at a cleverly designed scheme to resegregate voters in North Carolina, the U.S. Department of Justice informed us that the U.S. Attorney General did not "interpose any objection" to the scheme. The next sentence in the letter said, "However, we note that Section 5 expressly provides that the failure of the Attorney General to object [to a redistricting scheme] does not bar subsequent litigation (our emphasis) to enjoin the enforcement of the changes."

That’s exactly what we shall do this Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. in Wake County Superior Court.  We are honored to be co-plaintiffs with the League of Women Voters, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Democracy, NC — organizations that have had their hands on the Plow of Democracy for a long time — as we file a lawsuit asking our North Carolina courts to stop this cleverly disguised race-based scheme.

We shall sue the leaders of the NC House and Senate, Thom Tillis and Phil Berger.  They paid good taxpayer money to outside consultants to develop a scheme to resegregate minority voters and dilute our voting power.

These consultants know that blatant Jim Crow acts are illegal, so they came up with their James Crow schemes instead. Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow uses surgical tools to cut out the heart of black political power. James Crow uses high-tech, clever consultants to pick apart black communities block by block and increase the prosperity of a few Americans by trying to divide, segregate, and fool the rest of us.

We also name the State of North Carolina and the State Board of Elections as defendants in our lawsuit, since they are charged with carrying out this race-based plan.

We welcome the media to join us at the Wake County Courthouse at 10:00 a.m., Friday morning, November 4, 2011, where our attorneys from Southern Coalition for Social Justice will distribute copies of our filed complaint. A news conference will follow.

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N.C. NAACP to contest ban on school lunch data – Sources: News & Observer

RALEIGH — The state NAACP is contesting a federal agency’s determination that Wake County can’t use subsidized lunch data to assign students to schools. (Read more) Note: See article and comments.

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Press Release: NC NAACP Statement Regarding Charter Schools and Vouchers

Letterhead

For Immediate Release

March 6, 2011 

NC NAACP Statement Regarding Charter Schools and Vouchers

For More Information: Rev. Dr. William, J. Barber, II, 919-394-8137
                                 Atty. Al McSurely, 919-389-2905

STOP THE LATEST EXTREMIST ATTACKS ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The North Carolina NAACP opposes using tax money for private academies; whether you call them vouchers or "tax credits," they take public money and pay people to abandon public schools.  We are also against lifting the cap on the number of charter schools here.  While some charter schools perform well for some students, they are not a universal solution for building strong school systems for all our students.  Studies show that, on the whole, charter schools do not out-perform traditional public schools.  They can also weaken school systems by "skimming off" middle-class students and ignoring the strength that comes through our diversity.   People have a right to send their children to private academies but the taxpayers are under no obligation to pay for it, especially when it undermines public education.

Using tax money for private academies is not a new idea.  In fact, people who support segregated schools have advocated tax-funded private academies since 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the NAACP in the historic Brown v Board of Education case, and declared: "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

Three months later, Gov. William Umstead set up a committee chaired by Thomas Pearsall, former N.C. House Speaker, whose mission was to circumvent the Brown decision. Gov. Umstead died suddenly, but his successor, Gov. Luther Hodges, created a smaller, all-white Pearsall Committee, which drafted plans disturbingly similar to those recently proposed by N.C. House Republicans.  The 1955 Pearsall Plan offered "tuition grants" [vouchers] to fund private academies with public money for white parents whose children might be assigned to desegregated schools.  The Pearsall scheme also empowered local school boards to bar African-American children from white schools by imposing endless bureaucratic hurdles for black parents.

Several white and black leaders and ministers challenged the legality and morality of the Pearsall Plan, but in 1956 the General Assembly adopted these segregationist schemes.  A state-wide referendum supported the segregationists by a margin of five to one, a margin expanded by voter suppression efforts in black majority sections of the state.

North Carolina conservative leaders continued to urge evasion of desegregation by using tax dollars to send children to all-white private academies. I. Beverly Lake, Sr., segregationist firebrand and father of Republican gubernatorial candidate I. Beverly Lake, Jr., urged that the state subsidize segregated private schools. Jesse Helms wrote an editorial, "There is Another Way," urging that North Carolina abandon public education and pay private academy tuition so parents could send their children to all-white schools, eventually privatizing the public schools entirely.

North Carolina never had to pay private school tuition because the Pearsall scheme helped the state successfully evade compliance with Brown for 17 years. The courts ruled the Pearsall Plan unconstitutional in 1969, but it was not until the early 1970’s that the NAACP’s persistent legal and political efforts began to allow children of every race to attend the same schools, at least in our larger cities and towns.  From a historical standpoint, our efforts to heal the scars of slavery and segregation have only just begun.

Sadly, the forces of division are now attempting to serve this sour, old wine in new bottles. Republican majority leader Paul Stam’s proposal, like the Pearsall Plan before it, seeks to divert public money to private academies, paying parents to withdraw their support from the public schools. Stam, whose "dream," he admits, is to do away with traditional public schools, currently proposes to use tax dollars for private academies. Republicans in the legislature also propose to repeal the laws against racial segregation in private schools and charter schools. School board members pushing "neighborhood schools" in Wilmington created 95 percent re-segregated schools, after which they petitioned their Republican legislators to "work to overturn" the measures in the Disadvantaged Students Supplemental Funding (DSSF) Law that allows the State Board of Education to withhold DSSF money from administrative units that practice "segregation of schools on the basis of race or socioeconomic status." North Carolina should reject all of these variations on the theme of funding private academies with public money or turning public schools into private academies, in effect, where the price of admission is the ability to pay a whopping mortgage, under the guise of "neighborhood schools."

Let us focus instead on helping all our public schools meet the higher expectations we have for all children.  We should promote: diversity in all our classrooms; equal funding for all our schools; high-quality teachers; smaller classes; first-rate facilities for every child; school leadership teams for under-performing schools; a renewed focus on math, science, reading, and history; greater parental and community support; a laser-like focus on disparities in dropout, suspension, and graduation rates; early childhood funding for poor children.

We should also press for complete funding under the Leandro v. State of North Carolina (1997) mandate that the North Carolina Constitution guarantees "every child of this state an opportunity to receive a sound, basic education in our public schools," regardless of whether that child grows up in an affluent suburb or a rural crossroads; and that each child has a constitutional right to an education that gives them the reading, writing, speaking, mathematical, and scientific skills and knowledge to "enable the student to compete on an equal basis with others in future formal education or gainful employment in contemporary society." Many of our re-segregated schools, especially in impoverished rural areas, do not meet that constitutional requirement; in fact, Republican Judge Manning has called the educational system in many of our poor counties "educational genocide."

In light of all that remains to be done, we categorically reject any privatization schemes for our public schools while we advocate a state-wide campaign for diverse, high quality, constitutional schools for all our precious children.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President,  NC NAACP, National Board Member
Ms. Carolyn Coleman, 1st Vice President, NC NAACP, National Board Member
Ms. Amina Turner, Executive Director, NC NAACP
Dr. Timothy Tyson, History Chair, NC NAACP

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NAACP Commends Gov. Perdue’s Veto of a Sick Law

Letterhead

For Immediate Release

March 5, 2011

 

For More Information, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, 919-394-8137                                    

Re: Statement on Gov. Perdue’s Veto of Right-Wing’s Attempt to Sabotage Health Care for All

Gov. Beverly Perdue Vetoed a Sick Law

 

             The North Carolina NAACP Conference of 120 Branches commends Gov. Beverly Perdue’s rejection of the sick bill that was passed by the Tea Party and other Extreme Right politicians who have hi-jacked Mr. Lincoln’s Republican Party.  The Governor is absolutely right when she rejected these zealots’ efforts to sabotage President’s Obama’s new program that provides health care for millions of poor and working people who need it.  The Governor is absolutely right when she said, "This is an ill-conceived piece of legislation that’s not good for the people of North Carolina."

 

            "The Third Point in our Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Agenda," NC NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II said, "is Health Care for All. Right-wing zealots currently hold the once-proud Republican party hostage in a time of economic crisis.  Their sick law tried to stop the United States from joining with every other developed country in the world in providing access to health care for all our people.  Our Constitution, our religious principles, our history, and our commitment to take care of the least of these are healthy ideas.   And the Governor’s veto is a sign of a healthy new wind blowing across the State.  Thank you Governor Perdue."

 

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Health Care

Tata answers questions from students, parents – Source: ABC 11

WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) — Fresh off his meeting with an unhappy NAACP president, Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata took part in a forum to answer questions from students and parents Thursday night at the Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Tata, who took office on Jan. 31, agreed to meet with the student group NC HEAT (Heroes Emerging Among Teens) after they publicly challenged him to talk with them. (Read more)

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Wake County Public Schools