On this day, when our nation was plunged into destruction and despair, we reflect on the weight of terror and unreasonable tragedy caused by hate and misunderstanding.
The Black Community has had to deal with this despair since the Emancipation Proclamation declared All slaves free, yet, slavery still exists. We must continuously face this misunderstanding and its vestiges that impact our community. We must chip away at it one issue at a time, with unity, with vision, with strength.
I am often asked, “What has the NAACP done lately? Why should I be a member?”
My answer is standard: This is the organization you will call when any sign of racism darkens your door, impacts your family, or costs you a job. Why? The NAACP has a history that every African-American should know. Founded in 1909, the organization took on lynchings and injustice with unity and loyalty from people of good conscience of all colors.
Now, the organization has “morphed” into a litigious icon thanks to the work of legal geniuses Thurgood Marshall, Constance Motley, William Kunstler, all contributing major legal triumphs for civil rights. Now there are new lawyers, new genius, new strategies, and a new sense of determination to eradicate racism. There are also new murders, but we continue to stand up for justice and equal rights in our nations courts of law as part of our journey. Beyond the 1956 Brown vs. Board of Education victory and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African-Americans have benefited from the “perception of strength, unity, and tenacity in the fights against the Goliaths of racism and bigotry”.
We are as viable today as we were in 1956, however, our people have to continue to rise up to the occasion and believe that the vision for peace and equality is attainable. We do not have the luxury of resting on the laurels of past victories because of the compelling challenges we still face.
The “Old Guard” remains in Ferguson and White Plains and Westchester. We must position our children with the resolve to be educated, and we must take our hands out of the air and place them on the voting machine levers. We must hold our officials accountable and exercise our rights with dignity and determination to be treated with respect.
You should take pride in membership- not just sit by and benefit from the fight-be a participant in the change. While we lose great leaders like Mandela, and great artists like Angelou, we have their words and deeds as a measurement of our great potential. We must grab that hope and pass it on as our great legacy, and the greatest thing we can do is make sure the NAACP is perpetuated for the generations to come.
Our next meeting is the beginning of a dialogue between the community and our police. Please come and participate in the conversation that helps us come together.
The NAACP White Plains/Greenburgh Criminal Justice/Legal Redress Committee will host a forum on police accountability in Westchester County on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Hope AME Zion Church located at 65 Lake Street, White Plains, NY 10604.
Admission is free and all are invited. I am the President of the NAACP White Plains/Greenburgh branch. The Chairperson of the NAACP White Plains/Greenburgh branch Criminal Justice/Legal Redress committee: Chrystalia King, Esq.
President, White Plains/ Greenburgh NAACP