According to the last financial reporting statements of two of the state proposition campaigns, Alice Huffman, president of California NAACP, has done quite well for herself as both a political consultant and state president. Her consulting firm accepted $108,500 for her support of Yes on Proposition 11 which argues the Black community would fair better to have an independent commission draw up congressional and state elected districts. Her position goes against the Legislative Black Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus who both argue that if passed the measure would be a setback of our political gains. This issue has been sought by the Republican Party for several decades so they can dilute the voting power of a largely Democratic Black and Latino populations.
Huffman was also paid $400,000 for her support of No on Proposition 8 the "gay marriage" constitutional amendment issue. Taking a position of No is in the opposite direction of what our Christian faith teaches us. Her position flies in the face of many clergy up and down the state in the Black community and will cause a decrease in NAACP membership renewals. Now I know the difference between my religious rights and civil rights granted by our government. I also know the difference between individual rights to make a living as a political consultant and using "deceitful desires" and the NAACP organization to obtain that right.
I use the term "deceitful desires" because of what Paul describes in Ephesians 4:22 when he states; they were taught of the former ways but is being corrupted by "deceitful desires". In the case of the NAACP Huffman touts to the board they have a statewide office. My question is what for? She touts to the board we make money. My question is for whom? She touts the organization has visibility. I say for what reasons? Her desire is to make money so she can buy more "Gucci Bags" as she once said to a Sacramento Bee reporter. I say more power to you but not at the expense of the NAACP. Her desire is to be a big time political player of which I say more power to you but, once again, not at the expense of the NAACP.
For your information, in the state of California, Blacks have the highest student drop out rate at 41.6 percent. We only have 4.4 percent Black teachers in classrooms while Black students make up 7.7 percent of the student body. The Achievement Gap gets wider each and every year for our Black students. We are still waiting to hear a word from our fearless state president.
The legal system harasses, abuses, and locks up more and more Blacks than any other group in California. When I read the Black papers from around the state and turn on the news and hear reports of police brutality in Southern California it is some other organization fighting the fight, not the NAACP.
With this year being a historic political year in registering people to vote and getting out the vote, the state NAACP has been silent in its effort to do either. I am confined to a power chair because of my condition, yet three statewide voter organizations have visited my office to solicit ideas and explain to the media their efforts to engage in the political process.
When the Legislative Black Caucus released its report on the lack of health care in the Black community and the insufficient outreach of health care services to the poorer communities by the state, there was not a word from the state NAACP.
With Countrywide and other home lending institutions using deceptive qualifying criteria in Black communities causing higher foreclosure rates to Blacks than any other group in California, we hear not a word from the state NAACP.
With the unemployment rate reaching 7.7 percent in the state and Blacks in double digits, not a word from Huffman to employers of disparities in hiring practices.
What I believe is that Alice uses her title as president of the state NAACP to get the contracts for her consultant firm and then uses the NAACP title and organization infrastructure of branches and membership lists to support her position. The problem is that we as members of the greatest civil rights organization suffer from the appearance of a conflict of interest. Each political year we receive in the mail and at our branch offices a "Minority News" tabloid newspaper from her with the mantra -- "to protect the political rights of minorities".
Now I am all for her getting as many contracts as she can handle but not at the expense of the NAACP. As a card carrying member in good standing, a past president of the San Bernardino Branch, a past fundraiser of the branch, I am requesting that state board members correct this problem before it destroys the integrity of this great organization. The organization is bigger than one individual. We as owners of Black media still stand ready to partner with you but you must re-position your thinking and re-examine your leadership.
Hardy Brown is a former school board member for the City of San Bernardino and current president of California Black Media.