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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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Flint Branch Election

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The NAACP Flint Branch will be holding an election on Saturday, December 6th. From 9am to 5pm at the UAW Region 1-C Flint Office.  Make sure to show up and exercise your right to vote.  Proper I.D. Required.

Date:

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Time:

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Location:

UAW Region 1-C Flint Office
1940 West Atherton Road
Flint, MI 48507

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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

Hurley

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

university of michigan board of regents meeting.JPG
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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Vote NO on Flint Charter Amendments November 4th!

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Vote for your future!
Reject the policies of the emergency manager
Vote NO on Flint Charter amendments November 4th!

On Tuesday November 4th Flint residents will have the opportunity to reject the actions of the emergency manager. We urge you to vote NO on the five proposed charter amendment changes. We also ask you to vote NO on the ballot question to form a Charter Revision Commission.

PLEASE VOTE NO BECAUSE:
• This was not a citizen led or citizen initiated process. These charter amendment recommendations came from the Blue Ribbon Committee on Governance, a group hand picked by emergency manager Darnell Earley. This group met in secret and voted to not have their meetings open to the public.
• Once power is restored to the city council and the mayor they will have the power to rescind the emergency manager’s executive orders. With a yes vote, these changes become permanent.
• Don’t be fooled. Do not enshrine or cosign the actions of the emergency manager. Through executive order, the emergency manager has already eliminated the office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service

Charter Amendment Proposal #6: An amendment to eliminate the office of the Ombudsman:

On December 8, 2011 Emergency Manager Mike Brown signed Executive Order 5, which eliminated the office of the Ombudsman. An excerpt from the executive order is below:

“Pursuant to Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager may, at his discretion and notwithstanding any
charter provisions to the contrary, eliminate departments of local government; and
Pursuant to Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager may, notwithstanding any minimum staffing
level requirement established by charter or contract, establish and implement staffing levels for
local government; and
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby ordered that the Office of Ombudsman established by Flint
City Charter §3-501 through §3-517 is eliminated. All employees assigned to the Office of
Ombudsman are terminated.”

Once Flint is out of receivership, the mayor has the power to rescind this executive order and Flint City Council could appoint an ombudsman. The ombudsman is the people’s watchdog. If you felt mistreated by a city employee, you could file a complaint with the ombudsman and they would launch an investigation. This question has been on the ballot several times since the creation of this office in 1974. Every time the public has voted to retain the office of the Ombudsman. A yes vote will eliminate this office. Over the years the Ombudsman has investigated police brutality and has been a place for residents to complain about city services. Flint and Detroit are the only communities in Michigan that has this office.

Charter Amendment Proposal #5: An amendment to eliminate the Civil Service Commission

On December 8, 2011 Emergency Manager Mike Brown signed Executive Order 6, which eliminated the Civil Service Commission. An except from the executive order is below:

“Pursuant to Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager may, at his discretion and notwithstanding any
charter provisions to the contrary, eliminate departments of local government; and
Pursuant to Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager may, notwithstanding any minimum staffing
level requirement established by charter or contract, establish and implement staffing levels for
local government; and
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby ordered that the Civil Service Commission established by
Flint City Charter §5-101 through §5-402 is eliminated. All employees assigned to the Civil
Service Commission are terminated.”

A yes vote would make this executive order permanent.

Charter Amendment Proposal #4: An amendment to eliminate the requirement for specific executive departments

According to section 4-203(A)of the Flint City Charter, the executive departments are: public safety, public works, utilities, parks and recreation, transportation including aviation, finance, community development, and environmental protection. The mayor already has the authority to reorganize and create new departments to meet the needs of residents through the charter. Currently executive department heads are appointed by the mayor with the approval of city council. The executive department heads serve at the pleasure of the mayor. This is charter amendment is unnecessary.

Charter Amendment Proposal #3: An amendment that would establish a budget stabilization fund and require budgetary “best practices.”

This amendment would require that future budgets presented to council include a message explaining the budget, multi-year financial plans and revenue projections, and establish a budget stabilization fund. The public receives an oral explanation of the budget during the mayor’s presentation to council. During the budgeting council hears testimony from department heads. Budgets from previous years are available and can be compared to determine trends. It may not have highlights or fancy graphs, but the meat of any budget is in the numbers. This part of the amendment is purely for aesthetics and totally unnecessary.
The crux of this amendment is the establishment of a budget stabilization fund. Current Flint funds are: general fund, major streets, local streets, police and fire millage, neighborhood police millage, parks millage, lighting special assessment, waste collection, drug forfeiture, HUD grant 2014, other grants, federal stimulus grant, building safety fund, public improvement fund, sewer fund, water fund, and internal service fund . The budget stabilization fund may be necessary, but it can be created through ordinance process.
Charter Amendment Proposal #2: An amendment to reduce the amount of mayoral principal staff appointments

This amendment will amend sections 4-202 (A) and (C) of the charter to reduce amount of mayoral principal staff appointments from a maximum of 10 to a maximum of 5. Principal staff officials are responsible for budget, planning, personnel, legal counsel and administrative services. This amendment is unnecessary. It has not utilized to it’s full capacity in years.

Proposal #1: General revision of city charter

With this proposal, Flint residents will decide if they wish to start the charter revision process. The impact of the charter is far reaching. It can affect a generation. We need more democracy, accountability, efficiency, and transparency in our local government. Unfortunately the individuals behind this current effort do not adhere to these values.

With our current charter we have the tools to create our own destiny. It just isn’t being used to it’s full capacity. As residents we have to power to launch our own petition drives to amend the charter. This should come from residents, not special interests.