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NAACP Legislative Day in Lansing

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This is a reminder that our Annual NAACP Legislative Day in Lansing is just two weeks away on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Please see the attached information and share with your local membership, family, friends, and community contacts.
Everyone should RSVP so that we have an accurate count for breakfast and lunch. Please call the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) office at (517) 373-5067 no later than May 20. You can also send your number of participants to the state conference at naacp.michigan@gmail.com. In addition, we would like to know how many youth will be in attendance.
If you have any questions and/or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
We had an outstanding Legislative Day last year (see the attached photo) and I am looking forward to another fantastic turnout this year. See you in Lansing on May 26 and please RSVP today!
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NAACP Statement on Grand Jury Decision in Fatal Shooting of Tamir Rice

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BALTIMORE, MD – National Association of Colored People (NAACP) President and CEO Cornell William Brooks today released the following statement regarding the Grand Jury decision in the Tamir Rice case:

“The hearts, prayers, sympathy and support of the NAACP continue to abide with the grief-stricken family of Tamir Rice and the Cleveland community.

“While the grand jury and the prosecutor have spoken, there remains a multitude of fundamental, unanswered questions.  The first of those questions is why the dispatcher failed to pass along to the responding officer essential details that the suspect was likely a juvenile, possibly waving a toy gun.  The fatal shooting of Tamir Rice at the hands of a rookie officer might have been prevented if those crucial details had been provided.

“And has the value of the lives of our children been reduced to a decision made in less than two seconds?  That is the amount of time it took for one officer to decide whether Tamir Rice should die….less than two seconds.  Life and death decisions are made every day by police officers across the country, but the benefit of the doubt is often given in the preservation of white lives while the presumption of guilt, dangerousness and suspicion, time after time, is reserved for black lives.

“The tragedy of Tamir Rice must be seen with unblinking clarity through the lens of a series of incidents of police misconduct committed by members of the Cleveland Police Department over years.  Cleveland has a long record of police misconduct subject to multiple and serial federal investigations. And it is against this ugly backdrop that its citizens are being asked to “just trust us.”  We must now hold accountable in the courts not merely police officers, but also hold accountable in the voting booth those who are responsible for dangerous policing.  Similarly, we need and the NAACP continues to call for a national standard for excessive use of force, police retraining and systems accountability.

“More remains to be done in the streets, courts, police department, legislature, city hall and Congress. The tragically lost life of this 12-year-old child demands that we do so.”

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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NAACP Statement on Declaration of Mistrial in First Freddie Gray trial

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BALTIMORE, MD – NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks today issued the following statement in response to the mistrial declared in the trial of Baltimore City police officer William Porter.  The trial was the first of six planned for police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray on April 12, 2015.

“The NAACP has closely watched the investigation into the tragic and senseless death of Freddie Gray at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the communityThis was a tragic and extreme example of law enforcement ignoring their own official and moral protocols when it comes to policing and protecting our community, and a grim reminder of the urgent need for criminal justice and law enforcement reform in cities across America.  

“As we learned in this trial, the disdain police showed for Gray clearly demonstrates that the Baltimore Police Department must change the culture of its police force and address issues of police brutality, accountability and excessive use of force.  While we continue to closely follow the trials scheduled in this case, we urge Police Commissioner Davis and elected officials to work together to enact transparent reforms that can rebuild trust between officers and the communities they serve.

“While we respect the legal process and still await justice, the death of Freddie Gray and other tragedies continue to point to the need for systemic reform both within the municipal police departments and statewide.  We call on the community to continue the protests while using all of the available nonviolent means to seek justice for a violent death. We still believe that Officer Porter and his fellow officers failed in their fundamental responsibility and we continue to wait for justice.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2015

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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A Review of the Hurley Medical Center Conciliation Agreement

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In wake of the recent settlement no-Black-Nurse lawsuit, we wanted to share with you the conciliation agreement that was signed on December 14th, 2013.  In this conciliation agreement with the NAACP Flint Branch and EECO, Hurley Medical Center agreed to make sweeping reforms that will have a wide-range positive effect on its current and future workforce.  Attach to this news article is a copy of the signed agreement. Click the link below to view the agreement.

Hurley Medical Center Conciliation Agreement

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Hurley agrees to pay $65,000 to settle second no-black-nurses lawsuit

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Original News Article from MLIVE:

Gary Ridley | gridley@mlive.comBy Gary Ridley | gridley@mlive.com  | Follow on Twitter 
on November 04, 2014 at 5:30 PM, updated November 04, 2014 at 5:41 PM

FLINT, MI — Hurley Medical Center has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a lawsuit from a fourth black nurse who claims that she was discriminated against when the hospital allegedly refused to let her treat a white baby.

Attorney Tom Pabst confirmed Tuesday, Nov. 4, his client, Carlotta Armstrong, finalized the settlement with the hospital.

Pabst said the settlement points to an ongoing problem of racial discrimination at the hospital.

However, the hospital denies any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

“Hurley Medical Center denies any wrongdoing and was prepared to take this case to trial but was able to resolve this matter on terms acceptable to all parties,” said hospital spokeswoman Ilene Cantor. “As always, Hurley Medical Center is committed to taking care of all patients without regard to race and continues its commitment to non-discrimination.”

Pabst said Armstrong still works for the hospital.

Armstrong was the fourth black Hurley nurse to file a lawsuit after they claimed the hospital discriminated against them when it fulfilled a white father’s request not to let black nurses treat his child.

The three other nurses filed a lawsuit together, and they settled their complaint in February 2013 for nearly $200,000.

The father of a white baby allegedly told the supervisor of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit that he did not want a black nurse taking care of his baby, the suit claimed. The father allegedly rolled up his sleeve and showed a tattoo that was believed to be a swastika while talking with the supervisor, the initial suit says.

According to the initial lawsuit, the supervisor then reassigned the infant to a different nurse and posted a note stating, “No African American nurse to take care of baby,” on the assignment clipboard.

The story received national attention from news organizations such as The Huffington Post and USA Today. Nationally syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. also wrote about the suit.

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Flint community speaks out on lack of diversity during University of Michigan board of regents meeting

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Flint community speaks out on lack of diversity during University of Michigan board of regents meeting

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on October 16, 2014 at 8:41 PM, updated October 16, 2014 at 8:51 PM

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2014/10/flint_community_speaks_out_on.html#comments

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NAACP Flint President Frances Gilcreast addresses the University of Michigan board of regents Thursday, Oct. 16. Gilcreast is unhappy because she believes the UM-Flint campus has not done enough to reach out to the African American community in the city of Flint.

FLINT, MI – The University of Michigan Board of Regents held their monthly meeting Thursday, Oct. 16, in Flint and were met by some in the community who are unhappy with the university’s outreach to people of color.

The regular monthly meeting was held at the Riverfront Banquet Center in downtown Flint. During the public comment portion of the meeting several members of the Flint community, including NAACP President Frances Gilcreast, discussing the decline in enrollment of African American students at the University of Michigan-Flint and the university’s role in community outreach.

Gilcreast said the Flint chapter of the NAACP had done research that showed the number of African American students enrolled at the UM-Flint was far lower than she would have anticipated.

“Some disgraceful statistics have just emerged in a city that has an African American population of close to 60 percent.” Gilcreast said. “The major university in this area has an African American population of only 11.3 percent, and of that miniscule number African American students have only a 20.7 percent graduation rate.”

Gilcreast went on to say during the public comment portion of the meeting that only 9 percent pf the university’s faculty are African American and only 13 percent of the staff are people of color.

“As we continue to delve into this situation we found that the university’s treatment of our community, we discovered that many of the programs that were put in place to empower…were being marginalized, they were not funded properly – the marketing wasn’t there and the general university support was non-existent.” Gilcreast said. “I speak of the Africana studies program, the Office of Educational Opportunity Initiatives, and the Office of Diversity Education.”

UM-Flint alumnus Charles H. Winfrey addressed the board of regents and spoke of his time as a student in the 1970s. He said at that time the chancellor was William Moran, who made the African American student enrollment percentage of 16 percent in an archived report Winfrey had come across.

“The population of the city of Flint at that time stood only at 42 percent African American. Fast Forward to 1990, African American enrollment at the University of Michigan-Flint stood at a tawdry 6 percent with 386 African American students out of a total student population of approximately 7,000 students. The black population at that time was roughly 50 percent.” Winfrey said to the board of regents. “Here we are in 2014, 25 years later the city of Flint is close to 60 percent African American population but student enrollment is no better than it first was when I was a student in 1972 at only 16 percent.”

Winfrey said he represents a group of citizens who are concerned about this neglect and non-responsiveness and they implored the board of regents to take action. He said he believes the university has shown a lack of commitment to African American programs.

“The university has shown a lack of commitment to African American programs such as Africana studies it’s underfunded and under-marketed. It shows a lack of commitment to the recruitment of African American students which is also under staffed, underfunded and under-marketed.” Winfrey said.

Flint resident Paul Jordan addressed the residents about the recent departure of Tendaji Ganges, director of Educational Opportunity Initiatives, who was put on administrative leave shortly before his employment at the university ended on Oct. 1.

Jordan said the dismissal of Ganges was significant to the university because of the role his office played in community outreach.

“Mr. Ganges and his office were one of the most visible efforts of the university to extend itself beyond its campus and beyond engaging with the powers that be in Flint to engage with the people of Flint.” Jordan said. “His termination adds credibility to the image of the University of Michigan-Flint as an outpost, but not really part of Flint. Part of downtown, but not really engaged with the people who live in the areas that surround downtown. That’s a problem.”

As president of the NAACP Flint, Gilcreast offered to help the university moving forward with community outreach especially in keeping young people in the area and helping increase the graduation rate.

“We have so many economic challenges.” Gilcreast said. “We’re losing our young people from outside sources to other places. We need to keep our resources here. If we’re gonna have a great Flint, we need to make sure we maximize our resources and our resources are our people.”

UM-Flint Chancellor Susan Borrego listened to the community’s concerns and said since the eight weeks she has been on the job she has been meeting with groups to identify issues.

“Well, I’ve been here eight weeks now. I haven’t been able to really look at the extent of the data, but I will tell you between 2011 and 2012 for incoming first time freshmen we’ve gone from 9.2 percent African American in ’11 to 22.5 percent African American in 2014. Having said that, there is an absolute need for us to continue to work with Flint schools to both bring Flint students in and support them to graduation.” Borrego said. “It’s not a problem that started six weeks ago, so it’s going to take some time to address it.”

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges National Reforms and Recommendations to Address Police Abuse

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges National Reforms and Recommendations to Address Police Abuse

A coalition of national civil and human rights organizations and leaders concerned about police abuse commends last week’s announcement by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. launching the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.  The initiative will enlist a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five U.S. cities and will focus on training to reduce bias and ensure fairness in law enforcement. The group also applauds the federal investigation by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department following the August 9, 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, by a Darren Wilson, a white police officer. The weeks following Mr. Brown’s death have seen protests, unrest and further police-related incidents in the area, underscoring a deep schism between the police and the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.

Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine and Public Policy Director Tanya Clay House, originally convened 14 national civil and human rights organizations and leaders to issue a Unified Statement of Action to Promote Reform and Stop Police Abuse on August 18, 2014.  Two of the coalition’s recommendations have come to fruition:  an independent and comprehensive investigation by the DOJ of Michael Brown’s shooting death and the use of body-worn cameras by Ferguson police officers. The group continues to call for the use of police officer body-worn cameras nationally and commends the White House’s recent announcement of testing of body-worn cameras by the U.S. Border Patrol.  Notably, five additional groups, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and more than 340 independent signatories, have joined the open letter which was sent to the White House and the DOJ.

The coalition is also encouraged by Attorney General Holder’s emphasis on the need for diversity across police departments and his description of the proactive steps that the DOJ has taken to engage the St. Louis County Police Department during his remarks regarding the civil rights investigation.  Yet while the investigation of Mr. Brown’s death, as well as the racial bias study and its associated results are significant steps forward, the groups continue to call upon the DOJ, FBI, and police departments across the country to comprehensively address the ongoing killing of unarmed African American and Latino youth and adults by police and civilians alike that may have been motivated by racial bias, and to effect universal and long-term systemic reform to end police killings and the use of excessive force.  In addition, the group continues to urge release of the federal racial profiling guidance, improved community policing, federal oversight of the distribution of federal weaponry and Congressional hearings on the use of excessive and deadly force by police.

The coalition, which remains in conversation with the White House, the DOJ, Ferguson and St. Louis County officials, and community groups and leaders, will continue to closely monitor related police-involved shootings and brutality nationwide.  Likewise, the group will remain a vital part of ongoing reforms, recommendations and actions.
Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP:

Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to investigate racial bias among law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, is a bold first step towards justice for thousands of victims of racial profiling throughout the country.  The  NAACP Missouri State Conference has been a leader on this front, filing five complaints with the Department of Justice, with regards to cases in St. Louis County. We applaud Attorney General Holder for his leadership in investigating the police interactions that resulted in the death of Michael Brown and that of others across the country.

Barbara R. Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

As the federal investigation of the Ferguson Police Department continues, revealing the actual practices by the police department, including patterns of racially disproportionate policing, and as the Department of Justice’s study of racial bias in law enforcement gets underway, the Lawyers’ Committee remains hopeful that the application of the rule of law will yield a just and fair result for Michael Brown and his family and former and pending police lawsuits and internal investigations nationwide.  Also, the Ferguson tragedy heightens national awareness of the criticality of voting.  It is your right and your duty to make your voice heard by exercising the fundamental right to vote to effect change in your community and in the nation.

Clayola Brown, President, A. Philip Randolph Institute:

The A. Philip Randolph Institute supports the recommended strategy of reform to ensure that the problem of police abuse is addressed at the highest level. We applaud the swift action of President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and the Department of Justice for taking a strong stance against violence and for speaking in favor of restructuring the current landscape to encourage diversity within law enforcement so that the true healing of our communities can move forward.

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

The Department of Justice should be commended for responding swiftly to the tragedy in Ferguson and for taking steps to address racial bias in policing, which undermines effective law enforcement and leads to the victimization of entire communities. The need for sensible reforms is urgent and we urge the administration and Congress to respond accordingly.

Pamela Meanes, President, The National Bar Association:

The National Bar Association applauds the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s civil pattern or practice investigation into allegations of unlawful policing by the City of Ferguson.  Such an investigation was needed and long overdue.  African American communities, such as Ferguson, have routinely been subjected to Investigatory Stops without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  Stops resulting in unconstitutional detentions and searches. Accordingly, The National Bar Association encourages the DOJ to launch similar investigations in the 25 cities that it has sent Open Records Request. More important, the Association demands Congress to enactment of federal legislation: 1) making it mandatory for police officers to wear body monitors and any violation of this requirement would result in automatic suspension and/or termination; 2) developing and implementing an Early Warning System be to identify officers who are prone to emotional instability or behavior problems; 3) reviewing the use of Deadly Force policies; and 4) mandatory reporting of incidents by race.

Laura W. Murphy, Director, Washington Legislative Office, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):

We are encouraged by the Attorney General’s plan to investigate racial bias in law enforcement in select U.S. cities and hope to see such actions replicated nationally. The Department of Justice must use all of its power to implement systemic policing reforms so that the federal government is able to monitor discrimination and use of excessive and deadly force by local police agencies. These investigations are an important first step to help avoid the all too familiar deadly consequences of these unchecked systems.

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Justice for Michael Brown

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Justice for Michael Brown

The NAACP mourns the shocking loss of Michael Brown. Our hearts are with his family, and all who were touched by his death.

We need answers on his shooting – answers the Ferguson and St. Louis County Police Departments seem disinterested in providing. But our efforts will continue unabated. We will seek and ultimately find the truth about Michael Brown’s killing.

Visit this page frequently for updates from Ferguson, and to find out what you can do to demand justice for Michael.

 

What Happened

On Saturday, August 9th, Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. The eighteen year old was unarmed. The community immediately rallied to demand justice and an investigation into the killing.

The NAACP has been on the ground, working with the St. Louis County branch and the Missouri State Chapter, and doing everything in our power to ensure this shooting is not swept under the rug.

It became clear very early on that the St. Louis County Police Department was dragging their feet in the case. Instead of collecting information, they confiscated cell phones and starting acting as an invading military. Instead of talking to witnesses and members of the community, they fired tear gas and rubber bullets at those seeking answers.

The NAACP petitioned the FBI to take up the case in Ferguson to ensure a full, unencumbered investigation into Michael Brown’s death would take place. We have been working with them to collect information and to provide a safe place for members of the community to come forward and be heard.

On Tuesday night, President Cornell William Brooks led a town hall in Ferguson with hundreds of members of the community. Instead of participating in the community event, the police blocked off portions of the street, forcing community members to walk to the event. More than 300 people attended and voiced their concerns and outrage over the shooting.

We will not stop until justice for Michael Brown is achieved.

Join Us in the fight for Justice!  To get involved, contact our local office at (810) 742-8622.