N.C. NAACP candidates pledge to support Black Press

N.C. NAACP candidates pledge to support Black Press
October 05
09:00 2017

Both candidates vying to succeed Bishop Dr. William J. Barber II as president of the N.C. NAACP during elections this week at the 74th Annual N.C. NAACP Convention in Raleigh say they will continue the special relationship the state’s oldest civil rights organization has had with the Black Press.

This is in order to keep the African-American community both informed about emerging issues and empowered to confront them collectively.

Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, N.C. NAACP third vice president, and Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Branch, are vying to succeed Barber as president of the N.C. NAACP.

“I don’t know that I would do anything different from Dr. Barber,” said Rev. Rochelle, “except always keep the community informed about the issues that we’re dealing with, and any statements we want to make on the issues, and continue to hold press conferences when needed, to get the information out to the general public. It’s important that the community knows the steps we’re taking on issues.”

When asked if he, too, will maintain the tradition that Dr. Barber so aptly established in working closely with Black newspapers to both inform and empower, Rev. Spearman replied, “Oh God, will I!”

“Everywhere I’ve been as a pastor in North Carolina, I have been a person who has advocated to our people how important it is for us to support the Black Press,” Rev. Spearman said. “I purchased Black newspapers for the churches I have been pastor of, I have a very good working relationship with [local Black newspapers]. I think that the Black Press and Black news is so vital to us as a people.

“So yes,” Rev. Spearman added, “I would continue that.”

Elections for N.C. NAACP offices, including president, take place Saturday, Oct. 7 during the 74th annual N.C. NAACP Convention in Raleigh.

In closing, both Rev. Rochelle and Rev. Spearman had special messages for the N.C. NAACP members who they hope will vote for them as the next president.

“Stakeholders are risk takers,” said Rev. Rochelle. “And I believe that if we’re going to be in a movement, we need to be totally involved. We can’t be part time, or once-a-month leaders.

“We must be alert, and actively working in our communities at all times, not just when something ugly happens. We need to be prepared, our people, to be aware, to go to the legislature and be aware of what’s going on, what laws are being changed … all of those things are important in order to make sure that our people are informed, and knowledgeable about situations that are affecting them.

“We can be resources to help our people prepare to be up-to-date, and to be knowledgeable about things that are affecting them,” said Rev. Rochelle.

For Rev. Spearman, he wants N.C. NAACP membership throughout the state to know that he is seasoned, experienced, and above all, is not afraid to take on the pressures and challenges of the state NAACP presidency.

“I’ve been tellin’ folk, ‘I’m woke, and I ain’t skerd!’” I’m ready to go into this thing. If I were to make it into the leadership of the NAACP, I’m like a dead man. I’m already dead, you can’t kill me. I’m going to stand with my people, I’m going to do all that I can to be that catalyst for change. Whatever I need to do for them to try to do all that I can to protect them, that’s what I’m going to do.”

“So call me ‘the late T. Anthony Spearman’ if you have to, but that’s something that I genuinely believe.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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