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Silence from governor, GOP legislative leaders on N.C. NAACP invite to meet

Silence from governor, GOP legislative leaders on N.C. NAACP invite to meet
December 07
04:00 2017

It has been a week since Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the N.C. NAACP, sent a Nov. 27 letter to Gov. Roy Cooper, Speaker of the N.C. House Tim Moore, President Pro Tem of the N.C .Senate Phil Berger, and N.C .Chief Justice Mark Martin, requesting a meeting to discuss “seeking new approaches to overhaul the criminal justice system … and explore other issues our members are concerned about.”

“Today, while our nation and state are in the midst of great political turbulence, caused at least in part by racist voting an criminal justice policies and practices, there is a great need for honest political leaders to speak directly with each other and listen carefully across the table of civility,” Dr. Spearman wrote.

Collectively addressing them as the “leaders of three co-equal branches of N.C. government,” Dr. Spearman did give them until Dec. 15 to either call the N.C. NAACP office, or contact him to respond “if you are open to such discussions,” but as of Dec. 5, according to Spearman, it’s been crickets. None of the principles have replied.

Apparently, neither the governor, House speaker, Senate president pro tem nor the chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, want any part of a sit down meting with the N.C. NAACP. On the same day of Dr. Spearman’s press conference announcing his willingness to meet, and releasing the letter he wrote to them, this reporter sent an email to everyone except Chief Justice Martin, asking if they would be willing to meet with the N.C. NAACP to discuss serious issues affecting the community.

They had until Friday, Dec. 1 to respond to the press request, but thus far, as with the N.C. NAACP, nothing has come by way of a response.

What the new N.C. NAACP president is asking for is not unusual. On the national level, presidents – both Democrat and Republican – have been meeting with civil rights leaders for decades. President Kennedy met with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney M. Young of the NAACP, and other black leaders of the ’60s civil rights leadership. So did President Lyndon B. Johnson.

On the Republican side, Dr. King met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, while President Richard M. Nixon also took time to meet Ralph D. Abernathy of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other black leaders.

On the state level, Gov. Jim Hunt met with various civil rights groups during his terms in office, including a group of ministers from the United Church of Christ, who were lobbying him in the late 1970s to pardon the Wilmington Ten.

So what Dr. Spearman, who is also president of the N.C. Council of Churches, is asking for is not unheard of.

At his Nov. 27 press conference at the N.C. NAACP’s new headquarters in Raleigh, Dr. Spearman was asked what will he do if Dec.15 comes, and he still gets no answer from the “leaders of …. N.C. government.”

“We are hopeful that we will get a response to our letter by the 15th of December, but … you can mark me by this: That if we do not receive anything, we are geared up to move forward, as we have been doing,  to do rallies, whatever needs to be done, for such a time a this,” Dr. Spearman vowed.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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