October 11, 2008

NAACP Prez Ben Jealous and Black Bloggers Talk About Voters, Foreclosures and Much More

Villagers recall that I questioned the relevance of the NAACP last year.

I no longer question the relevance of the organization. First, one of my colleagues in The AfroSpear is president of the NAACP Wichita Branch and his consistent advocacy on the part of our people is beyond reproach. Second, I've seen the continued evolution of the NAACP Cincinnati Branch as it relates to matters of economic development as well as social justice.

However, I was still surprised to receive invitation to join NAACP president Ben Jealous on a conference call he wanted to hold with some members of the afrosphere. African American Political Pundit and the Super Spade were other bloggers on the call. Mr. Jealous had Hilary Shelton (DC Bureau Director), Carla Sims (Communications) and Nicole Hayes (Media Relations) on the call from the NAACP.

Mr. Jealous indicated that he wants to create a more direct connection with Black people through the evolving blogger networks. He wants to see NAACP use more Web 2.0 tools to communicate with his stakeholders.

The four topics Mr. Jealous wanted to update us on included:
  1. 2008 Presidential Election - NAACP effort to register voters as part of the 'Upload to Uplift' initiative was a success. 17,288 people registered to vote via this online project at the time of our call. Mr. Jealous noted that he planned to be in North Carolina in the coming week to encourage early voting. I was pleased to learn that he planned to contact the #1-ranked Black blogger, Pam Spaulding, during his visit to North Carolina.

  2. Black Radio - NAACP wrote FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to ask that the FCC investigate Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) methodology. Jealous says the PPM methodology "dramatically undercounts and misrepresents the listening habits of racial and ethnic minorities -- so much so that the continuing viability of minority radio stations is seriously threatened."

  3. Foreclosure Crisis - Evidently, the NAACP has been knee-deep in this issue since 2007 when it became apparent that 52% of the African American families with subprime mortgages purchased in 2005 were likely to be in foreclosure by 2009. NAACP expressed concern about predatory lendors and shysters that underplayed the balloon payments and interest-rate escalators. NAACP is monitoring how the Treasury Department implements the $700 billion bailout plan to ensure that African Americans families benefit as much as others. African American Political Pundit asked the NAACP to take a look at the contracts purchased with the $700 billion funds to ensure that 8(a) and MBE-certified corporations get a chance to compete whenever possible.

  4. Texas Visit - Mr. Jealous noted that he was heading to Texas this weekend. He planned to meet with NAACP members and leaders impacted by Hurricane Ike. He also wanted to get a first-hand account of the Brandon McClelland case in Paris, TX. We asked him to keep us informed of his findings.

The conference call ended with discussions about NAACP getting onto Twitter and such.

Overall, I found Bro. Jealous to be well-informed and willing to empower his staff. Also, the mere idea that he wants to engage with the afrosphere (Black bloggers) is a powerful indication that he "gets it" when it comes to leading a large organization in the 21st century.

I look forward to future discussions between the NAACP and Ben Jealous. Villagers, let me know if you have issues you want covered at the next conference call between NAACP and Black bloggers.


AAPP said...

Great post. I concur with your comments villager. I hope the NAACP national office will utilize the President of the Wichita NAACP as a "in house subject matter expert" regarding blogging and bloggers and how to built and long standing partnership.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Well the NAACP is lacking in female leadership and female decision making, yet the largest group of volunteers and financial supporters are females. So that needs to change. People are always going in peril, but what tools will they implement to help people make better choices or realize their potential? I'd also like to hear plans they have for holding Black men responsible for taking care of their children. And finally what are they doing to combat the negative imagery of Black women in the media and specifically why they are not putting pressure on Hollywood to use more Black women behind the camera, writing, producing and directing not just acting. A few local offices does not help the National office be effective. That irrelevant charge is not without some merit, but I do realize we have to engage them. I have yet to receive a response from them of a plan of implementation for the things that matter most to me.

Unknown said...

AAPP - Young brotha Ben Jealous is starting off his term of office in a positive manner. Let's see how he keeps going with it. I recall you were going to renew your membership in the NAACP earlier this year. Did you 'make it so'?

Faith - I've shared your comments with the NAACP folks we talked with on the phone. I'll be interested in their answers. As an aside, I wonder what became of Myrlie Edwards. She once sat in the seat now held by Ben Jealous. Do you know where she is now?

VoteMeCool said...

As always EV your ahead of the game in reporting. Your staff should strongly consider becoming an on-line, Liberal News Reporting Organization like the Huffington Post (I'm Serious!), so that you can be rightfully compensated via Advertising revenue.

The N.A.A.C.P. Chapter in Charlotte, NC is a joke and I really don't see what purpose they currently serve.


1) They DON'T speak up for the African-American community. In fact it appears as if they are afraid to do so.

Word on the street is that quite a few of the members run and tell the local White Leaders everything just like during the days of Willie Lynch's generation.
i.e., House Negros, Field Negros

2) They have shunned Charlotte's Minority Youth, with the exception of those Teens whose parents are members of certain Fraternities and Sororities.

3) They also shun a LARGE part of Charlotte's African-American community and refuse to reach out across the lines to increase Membership. i.e., Low-Income, Blue Collar Workers, etc.,

4) The local Chapter is SILENT and INVISIBLE on many major issues that the Charlotte African-American community faces.

Currently the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System is attempting to shut down one of the most productive Magnet schools for Black children in the community.

Its a school (with a pre-dominantly Black population) for Gifted Children that has been a success for a number of years.

In addition the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System is practically violating Federal Law because it has basically once again become a TOTALLY Racially-Segregated system.

We've heard crickets from the NAACP on this issue.

5) Where were they during the Voter Drives? i.e, Voter Education, Voting Rights, etc.,

6) Why aren't they trying to reach Young Black Men or trying to encourage them to attend college, stop joining Gangs, etc.,

7) Why aren't they trying to teach the Black Community how to be STOP depending on the Government (Federal & State) and to become more Self-Sufficient? i.e., Business Owners, Debt-Free, etc.,

8) The local chapter absolutely REFUSES to work with the more ACTIVE, Popular Chapters in Greensboro and Durham, NC.

Like I said the Charlotte, NC - NAACP Chapter is a joke and has lost its compass.

Perhaps Mr. Jealous will read this and invoke some type of investigation or action.

If I'm wrong then prove me otherwise.


Unknown said...

RB - I'm not current a NAACP member ... nor do I live in Charlotte. So, there is next-to-nothing that I can say on your comments. I can tell you that the NAACP branch here in Cincinnati never seemed very impressive to me for many years ... however, new blood was introduced into this branch at the last election ... and it appears to have made a difference in their approach to the NAACP mission. I sense they are more interested in economic development as well as social justice.

I plan to join the NAACP Cincinnati Branch shortly.

Perhaps other villagers reading your post may have more constructive response.

In the meantime ... thank you for visiting with us and sharing your perspective. We're not trying to be Huffinton Post ... but, we do try to uplift our peeps with this blog...

Unknown said...

I really appreciate having a place to come that provides real time information on issues important to me. I too have questioned the relevance, or more accurately effectiveness of the NAACP in recent years. I only hope that Bro. Jealous leadership will impact all branches of the organization. I have only lived in Michigan for a few years but I can say that the Detroit branch is unresponsive, invisible and irrelevant, which sadly is typical of the leadership here which is all about getting paid while the city deteriorates in front of our eyes. I hope Bro. Jealous can raise the troops and get us organized for positive change!

Unknown said...

WriteForHire - I lived in Detroit from 1988-1994. I recall that a Black preacher took over leadership of the NAACP Detroit branch when I left. I wonder if he is still in charge?

Often it seems that the Detroit branch is only focused on their annual Freedom Fund Dinner...

Francis Holland said...

This sounds very positive. The combination of the strength of brick and mortal local NAACP offices across the country with a network of national bloggers almost inevitably makes the Diaspora stronger.

And the national NAACP's new commitment to using the Internet to reach our to Black people and engage in interactive efforts should make the NAACP stronger,larger and more influential as an organization if it continually emphasizes and takes that interactive mission seriously.

Unknown said...

Francis - I agree that it was a positive move on the part of the NAACP. Time will tell if he sticks with this initiative. Have you ever been a member of the NAACP?