I loved everything I have heard about the NAACP, including the fact that it formed by a bunch of whites in response to an appalling riot in Springfield, Illinois back in 1909. Fast forward to the year 2010; I dislike everything about the NAACP today in its 100th year of existence. What Happen?
I found a clue to what happened in an e-mail I received the other day from this once great civil rights organization, or did I find a clue to something else I dislike?
A response to my e-mail offered no answers to my original inquire concerning the lack of attention towards the California prison-overcrowding situation. I had read the NAACP “Smart and Safe” initiative under their Criminal Justice Program. http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-about Frankly, as a prison reform activist in San Francisco, I thought it was just more clear evidence that the NAACP was out of touch and I expressed this opinion in my e-mail before and after receiving their correspondence. I received an e-mail response that appeared to be from, none other than its current president Benjamin Jealous. After reading the e-mail, I realized it was a form letter subject “Why we march” and this video: http://action.naacp.org/ONWTvideo
I was so upset I went searching of my state and local branches and no one was available to assist me with my issue. The state head office told me to contact my local branch. All I got was a phone recording, telling me to leave a message, and it mentioned that the head of the San Francisco branch, a long time civil right warrior, Rev. Amos Brown was recovering from a serious health issue.
After a little research, I feel as though I had to put my foot in my mouth on saying the NAACP is out of touch. I had pulled up the NAACP website and found that this organization has not been totally out of touch but rather overwhelmed with the workload or demand on this, a civil rights champion.
My passion for prison reform is very similar to that of the NAACP. However, I was too busy criticizing them to notice at first. I was accusing the NAACP of being among other things, out of touch mainly because in California there is a huge prison overcrowding issue that in my opinion is only getting lip service of protest. In my e-mail to this civil rights group, I sited a case where a man, Santos Reyes, was in prison for 26 years to life for cheating on a driving test and if they were unaware of it that was because they were out of touch and that something needed to be done about this injustice. On the NAACP website, my eye caught notice of something that said “Justice for the Scott Sisters.” I read that it had to do with two women serving life sentences in Mississippi for allegedly stealing $11.00; yes, I was unaware of this. http://www.naacp.org/blog/entry/naacp-press-conference-on-the-scott-sisters
The only thing I can claim to be real good at is criticism; the easiest thing in the world to do. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and my youngest sister cleaned half of our side-by-side refrigerator. I tore into her because she only cleaned half of the refrigerator even though she did an excellent job on the half she did clean. I chose to make myself feel good or useful by finding fault, over making myself feel good and useful by helping and cleaning the other half of the refrigerator.
Now that I am admitting I was wrong about this civil rights advocate, I want to join the NAACP. I believe we can make prison reform happen together. However, I still have some serious differences with this once great organization and if it is going to be great again, they could do without my criticism.
First, I must find me a Fault Finders Anonymous chapter to join because I also admit that I am addicted to finding fault in others and I dislike this unappealing characteristic I see in me.
And until I reform myself I am only kidding myself into thinking I can reform a whole prison system.