Karl Rodney, publisher of New York Carib NewsOverwhelming Support for Publisher Karl RodneyOn Thursday April 14, Karl Rodney appeared before Judge Emmet Sullivan, who sits on the U. S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Scores of supporters, including members of the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA), the NAACP, members of the clergy, the legal profession, educators, Caribbean- American organizations, along with friends and family, coming from all corners of the country, converged in the nation's capital to stand with Rodney, a New York-based media executive, as he entered into an agreement with the U.S. government that concluded a yearlong investigation into the annual Carib News Multinational Business conference. Hazel Dukes, president of the New York state NAACP, in a statement regarding the proceedings said: "I came to Washington today because of my deep respect for Mr. Karl Rodney, publisher of New York Carib News, and because of his commitment to human and civil rights. He has demonstrated that commitment through his service to national and international institutions and community groups. We see injustice in what has transpired over the past three years by our legal system. I believe when the facts are known Mr. Rodney will prevail. I am here today to let the world know here is a man unjustly tried." The U.S. government recognized the purpose and value of the conference, as well as the work Rodney has conducted on behalf of the Caribbean-American community and the countries of the Caribbean Basin for more than four decades. Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., chairman of the powerful NNPA, expressed his personal support as well as the support of the nearly 200-member association that he leads. He also expressed his dismay over a committed public servant being subjected to such an ordeal. "I've known Mr. and Mrs. Rodney for several years, and I would be hard-pressed to find a person of such impeccable integrity, committed to mankind, successful, and as humble as Karl Rodney. In spite of his present predicament, which I'm sure takes up a great deal of his time, he serves his position on the foundation's board as vice chair without neglect or excuses. His commitment to his native Caribbean and to the African-American communities is unparalleled. Karl can rest assured that the membership of the NNPA is solidly behind him not only with our moral support, but with our power to preserve the positive image that he has created for himself and his family." "Karl and Faye Rodney are outstanding public figures who have demonstrated leadership on a worldwide basis. They are committed to family and international values, and as a result people love and respect them. Their generosity and willingness to serve have earned them national, international and regional Caribbean respect," says Cheryle Wills and Ralph Dickerson, Jr., of Volunteers and Community Leaders, in a joint statement made after the hearing. Walter Smith, president of the Northeast Publishers Association (NEPA) and publisher of the New York Beacon, made a very succinct statement concerning the Rodneys: "No good deed shall go unpunished." "I have attended Mr. Rodney's conference and he is doing things that our government cannot or will not do in support of business alliances between Caribbeans and African Americans. Mr. Rodney is Vice President of NEPA and he contributes his time and expertise to our association with the same intensity as he does with his many other involvements. Neither Mr. Rodney's reputation, nor that of his family will suffer as a result of this unjust ordeal. NEPA's 17-member newspaper group in the northeast will be in the forefront of this effort." Marta Vega, president and founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, shared the same sentiment Wills and Dickerson expressed, saying: "I have known Karl Rodney, his wife, Faye and NY Carib News newspaper for decades. Mr. Rodney is a person of considerable integrity and remains committed to the community and to the Caribbean. We at the center and the Institute have formed lasting partnerships from which New York, the United States and the Caribbean have benefitted significantly. These links with the community, the center and the institute, made us highly visible and brought great benefits to the Caribbean, Latino and African-American communities." Rodney acknowledged that he improperly completed a form according to the new rules required by the U.S. Congress for its members' participation in events such as the Carib News' Multinational Business conference. He is represented by Professor Charles Ogletree of Harvard University and Devereaux Cannick of the firm Aiello and Cannick. Laura Blackburn, retired New York State Supreme Court justice, said: "Today I witnessed the closing chapter of a painful ordeal for Mr. Karl Rodney and his family. Based on his underlying goodwill, decency and best of intentions, and if nothing else it is clear that the Rodneys are pillars of our community, doing excellent work, publishing a great newspaper and building bridges between the United States in general, and African-American communities in particular, and the nations of the Caribbean. He has placed considerable emphasis on developing trade and other economic ties between the United States and the Caribbean. We will continue to support the Rodneys because what they are doing helps to enrich our culture." Rodney and his family are glad to put behind them three years of Congressional and U.S. Department of Justice investigations in order to continue to focus their efforts in informing and advocating for the Caribbean-American community, as has been the case for the past 45 years. Dr. Marcella Maxwell, an educator and human rights advocate in her statement voiced the common feeling of many supporters that came to Washington, D.C.: Karl Rodney, his wife Faye and the NY Carib News have done, and continue to do courageous work in our community. They are compassionate people and that was evident by the number of people who traveled to Washington to demonstrate their sincere support." Rodney's sentencing is scheduled for July 22; his supporters are committed to being there with him, as he has committed his life to universal service to both individuals and communities. For further information please contact Cheryle Wills 201-868-6069.