Monday, December 20, 2010

MLK 2011 - Not Another Day Off

Ever work on a holiday? I grew up working construction and remember several holidays that I worked - not because I did not believe or care for the holiday itself, but instead because there was an opportunity to make a difference in my life by earning money.

Now I find myself in a different position and you might be in a similar spot - you have a paid day off and need to decide what to do with it. I have worked through many of these days too.

As Martin Luther King Day approaches, let me suggest that we take some time now, from the 14th to the 17th of January, or soon thereafter and ask a simple question - what I can I do right now in the service of others that will have the biggest impact? Then go do it.

There are several events happening in Jefferson City and the surrounding area on the 14th and 17th and the days leading up to Martin Luther King Day. I am enclosing some information that will be updated about two of those locally. Attend. Learn. And then go DO.

Jefferson City Regional MLK Celebration

January 14, 2011 - Governor's Office Building
Theme: Remember, Celebrate, Act
Keynote Speaker: Mr. Bill Miller

St. Mary's Health Center 8th Annual MLK Celebration

January 17, 2011 - Assembly Hall
Theme: Continuing the Quest for Peace and Justice
Keynote Speaker: Reverend James Howard, One in Christ Church
(this event grows every year and I have it on good authority that this year is one not to miss)

Friday, December 17, 2010

United States Settles with Black Farmers for Discrimination

NAACP: Washington Bureau
On December 8, 2010, President Barack Obama signed historic legislation funding a settlement, known as "Pigford II" between the US Department of Agriculture and American Black farmers, many of whom had suffered decades of discrimination. The NAACP enthusiastically supported this legislation as this case had festered for years and too many black farmers lost their livelihoods, their farms, and too often their lives awaiting resolution.

For more information on the bill and the struggle, please see the attached Issue Update. Please also feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you,


Hilary O. Shelton
Director, NAACP Washington Bureau &
Senior VP for Advocacy and Policy
(202) 463-2940

Two Double life Sentences for $11 - Tell Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to Intervene

For sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott, $11 earned them eachdouble life sentences.

Jamie and Gladys were convicted of being accomplices to a 1993 robbery. The teenagers who carried out the robbery served only two years in prison. The judge never explained why the Scott sisters deserved such severe sentences.

Sixteen years later, the Scott sisters are still in prison. And if Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour doesn't intervene, they will die in prison -- all over just $11.

You can get the word out about this horrific injustice. Sign the NAACP petition to Governor Barbour asking him to free the Scott sisters:

When the Scott sisters were put on trial, neither Jamie nor Gladys had a criminal record. But the presiding judge in their trial, Judge Marcus Gordon, has a history of racially biased rulings.

In all my years working to reform the criminal justice system, I have never seen such an extreme sentence for this type of crime. I am not alone. Even the original prosecutor in the case has since become an advocate for the sisters' freedom.

And now, their freedom is becoming a matter of life and death. In prison, Jamie Scott has lost renal function of her kidneys and cannot survive without a transplant. The Department of Corrections has refused to allow tests for kidney compatibility even though numerous volunteers have come forward.

Please, sign our petition today and tell Governor Barbour that 16 years is enough. Nobody should die in prison for an $11 crime:

There is no dollar amount that can be placed on a life. I will not stop fighting for the Scott sisters until justice is restored, and I hope you'll join me.

Yours in the struggle,

Ben Jealous
President and CEO

Thank the DOJ for Prosecuting Hate Crime

Department of Justice Press Release

white spacer

For Immediate Release
November 1, 2010

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

Massachusetts Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Burning African-American Church

WASHINGTON—Benjamin Haskell was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor in Springfield, Massachusetts to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the 2008 burning of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ, a predominately African-American Church, on the morning after President Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States. In addition, Haskell will pay more than $1.7 million in restitution, including $123,570.25 to the Macedonia Church.

On June 16, 2010, Haskell, 24, of Springfield, pled guilty to conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate the mostly African-American parishioners of the Macedonia Church in the free exercise of the right to hold and use their new church building, which was under construction, and to damaging the parishioners’ new church building through arson and obstructing their free exercise of religion because of their race, color, and ethnic characteristics.

At the earlier plea hearing, a prosecutor told the court that had the case proceeded to trial, the government’s evidence would have proven that in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, within hours of President Barack Obama being elected, Haskell and his co-conspirators agreed to burn down, and did burn down, the Macedonia Church’s newly constructed building where religious services were to be held. The building was 75 percent completed at the time of the fire, which destroyed nearly the entire structure, leaving only the metal superstructure and a small portion of the front corner intact. Investigators determined that the fire was caused by arsonists who poured and ignited gasoline on the interior and exterior of the building.

Haskell confessed to the crime and admitted that prior to the presidential election, he and his co-conspirators used racial slurs against African-Americans and expressed anger at the possible election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president. Haskell admitted that after Obama was declared the winner of the election, he and his co-conspirators walked through the woods behind the Macedonia Church to scout out burning it down. Then, in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, Haskell and his co-conspirators went back to the church, poured gasoline inside and outside of the church, and ignited the gasoline.

“The freedom to practice the religion that we choose without discrimination or hateful acts is among our nation’s most cherished rights,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As seen here today, the Department will prosecute anyone who violates that right to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The burning of the Macedonia Church because of racial hatred and intolerance was a vicious attack on one of our most cherished freedoms—to worship in the religion of our choice safely and without fear of discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz. “The successful investigation, prosecution, and punishment of those who committed this hateful act is a clear statement that law enforcement will do all in its power to protect our citizens’ civil rights.”

“While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is charged with investigating some of the most violent crimes, I consider the arson to be one of the most serious and dangerous offenses. Not only was this case about the burning of a house of worship, it cut to the very heart of our most valued rights, that of religious freedom. I want to acknowledge all of our partners who assisted in bringing the individuals responsible for this fire to justice,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Guy Thomas.

“Today’s sentencing represents just one more step toward closure and healing, not only for the victims of this hate crime, but for the Springfield community as a whole. The FBI, along with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, remains committed to protecting each and every citizen’s civil rights, and will aggressively investigate any violation of those rights, bringing the perpetrators to justice,” said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul H. Smyth and Kevin O’Regan of the U.S. Attorney's Springfield Office, and Nicole Lee Ndumele, Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

47th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner and Silent Auction


Contact: Nimrod "Rod" Chapel, President NAACP Jefferson City Chapter

Phone: 573-230-6424

Jefferson City Branch NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet and Silent Auction

"The Next 100 Years"

Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Silent Auction 5:30 pm

Dinner 7:00 pm

This year’s NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet and Silent Auction will be an evening filled with excitement, elegance, and entertainment. The Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center is the place where you’ll want to be on this Saturday, October 16th. The silent auction will kick off at 5:30 pm promptly and will last into the dinner as the bid competitions come to a climax! Items will include paintings, foods, presidential memorabilia, hotel stays, spa treatments and many other wonderful personal and household items. Music will fill the room at the Capitol Plaza Hotel as you gather with old friends and meet new ones. At 7:00 pm, dinner will be served. The menu was hand selected and will truly be a dining experience to remember! Guests will have two options. One option is a duet plate which includes English Sliced Roast Beef with Stuffed Mushroom Risotto and topped with a Mushroom Demi Glaze and Chicken Marsala. Mouth watering sides include Garlic Roasted New Potatoes, Green Beans Almandine, Rolls and Butter. If you don’t like that, you may prefer something a bit more on the southern side. The “Meal for Teal” may be your dinner choice for the evening. This includes Catfish served with Sweet Potatoes, Greens, and Corn Bread! Salads include Caesar Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Crisp Spinach Leaves, Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Tomato Wedges and Garlic Croutons with Caesar and Hot Bacon Dressing. For dessert the Capitol Plaza Hotel has a brand new desert that is simply delicious (especially if you are a chocolate lover) and you will be one of the first to indulge your taste buds with their Chocolate “Tiger Stripe” Cake. It’s totally new to their menu!

We hope you will join us for this semi-formal extravaganza!

The Jefferson City Branch NAACP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Funds raised by the NAACP provide college scholarships, access to limited legal information, support for local prison branches as VIC’s (Volunteers in Corrections), officer training at district and state meetings, and representative participation at state and national conferences. In addition, chapter volunteers work with area school districts to promote understanding about diversity concerns, and work with the Armed Services on equity issues.

We want to thank the following organizations who have so graciously supported this event through sponsorships, silent auction donations, and purchasing tickets.

Riversong Spa & Salon

Bandana’s Bar-B-Q

J.C. Mattress Factory & Furniture

Director Kevin Willmott


Westgate Lanes

the Y – Jefferson City YMCA

Lasting Memories By Linda

Capital 8 Theaters

Glenn Bonner, Realtor

Papa John’s Pizza

Colton’s Steak House

Missouri National Guard Association


Code Blue

Central Bank

Home Savings Bank

Missouri AFL-CIO

Mid-America Construction Management

Rainbow Lanes

Eagle Knoll Golf Club




Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza

Oak Hills Golf Center

O’Reilly Auto Parts

Wilson’s Total Fitness

Advanced Auto Parts

Mc Alister’s Deli

River City Habitat for Humanity

Best Western Capital Inn

Nimrod and Denise Chapel, Jr.

We also appreciate the many contributions from individuals and others who made personal and financial contributions to this fundraising event.

2010 Freedom Fund Awardees


Nimrod Chapel, Jr.
Jefferson City, NAACP

NAACP Announces 2010 Freedom Fund Awardees

Jefferson City, MO, October 15, 2010 — “Ideas such as justice and equality are only as relevant as we make them” says Nimrod Chapel, Jr., president of the Jefferson City, MO, branch of the NAACP. “These individuals and organizations we are recognizing have shown a sincere interest in turning democratic concepts into reality. It is a fitting tribute that they are recognized at this year’s 47th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner and Silent Auction on Saturday, October 16,2010 at the Capital Plaza. I encourage each of you to get to know these individuals and organization and continue your support for these most American of ideals.”

The 2010 Awardees are:


Lou DeFeo

The Rosa Parks Award is given to individuals who have committed their lives, and have exhibited dedication and commitment to the cause of equality and justice in the face of personal sacrifice, and for standing up against racism and discrimination.


Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA)

Missouri National Guard

Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW)

This Corporate/Public Image Award is given to a company or individual in the public/private sector, in recognition of its/their commitment and dedication to equal opportunity, employment, diversity, community support and leadership.


Victoria (Vickie) Meyers,

Anthony DeWitt,

SSG Terri A. Nichols,

BG Stephen L. Danner, and

the Honorable John Landwehr

This Presidential Choice Award is given to an organization or individuals in the public/private sector, in recognition of its/their commitment and dedication to equal opportunity, access, employment, diversity, community support and leadership.


Earnest Jackson

The Myrtle Smith Oden Service Award is given to individuals who have worked faithfully in the NAACP or other civic organizations for the overall betterment of the community.

“Honor those who have worked in their professional and private capacities as citizens to make our Community, state and nation a better place to live and truer to the ideals set forth in the Bill of Rights and Constitution” said Chapel. “Civic duty is the debt we owe for being a part of society and it is our only real opportunity to make communities better.”

Founded in 1909, the 101 year old NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Death Penalty Documentary Tuesday September 21, 2010 4 - 6PM


Mr. Reggie Clemons has been sitting on Missouri’s death row for over 16 years, sentenced as an accomplice in the death of two white women in 1991. Clemons and two other black men were sentenced to death while a fourth person, a young white man was offered a plea deal and is out on parole. That is not the only race issue in the case. The original suspect, a white man and the cousin of the women, confessed to the crime after failing a lie detector test and changing his story several times. All three black defendants claimed that their confessions were coerced by police beatings and/or denial of constitutional rights. The arraignment judge sent Clemons to the hospital for obvious injuries he did not have before his ‘interview’ with police.

Further, there is no physical evidence linking Clemons to the offense. Jurors were improperly excluded and the prosecutor was guilty of serious misconduct. It came to light only recently that critical evidence was never provided to the defense or tested for DNA.

Governor Jay Nixon has the authority to grant clemency to Reggie. At one point, the appeals court overturned Clemons’ death sentence, but it was reinstated.

Many citizens are asking, “How can we put someone to death when the case against him is so problematic?” When a man’s life is on the line, there can be no room for doubt.

Some say that Nels Moss, the prosecutor in Reggie Clemons' case, is notorious for improper conduct in the courtroom. Learn more: Nels Moss_Reggie Clemons


June 4, 2009: Reggie’s execution was stayed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court now must rule of a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of Missouri’s lethal injection process before a new execution date can be set.

June 30, 2009: The Missouri Supreme Court appointed a Special Prosecutor to examine all evidence in Reggie’s case. This decision opens the door for consideration of evidence and issues which had been excluded in the appeals process.


The Jefferson City NAACP and Missouri Association for Social Welfare of Central Missouri presents Borrowed Time - a documentary about the case of Reggie Clemons.

Borrowed Time chronicles the details of his case including interviews with Clemons, his family, community leaders and others involved in the incident and the case. The documentary also calls into question the competence of the defense attorney and the conduct of the prosecutor.

Following the documentary we invite you to join us for a brief discussion facilitated by MASW and NAACP members. Learn about the recent door opened by the Missouri Supreme Court as well as other developments. Hear about what you can do to keep the Campaign for Reggie going.

FREE DOCUMENTARY SHOWINGTime: Tuesday, September 21, 4:00-6:00pm – bring our own refreshments

Location: Lincoln University Library Martin Luther King Hall, 812 E Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO

Free admission. RSVPs appreciated:


Thursday, September 16, 2010

We recently received this message from one of Jefferson City's strongest community partners about some changes coming to a Y near you. With so many programs and opportunities to participate, it is good to see that the organization is striving to keep its focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.

Rebranding the Y - It’s More Than a Logo

Dear Members,

For the first time in 43 years, the Y is unveiling a new brand strategy. The strategy is designed to increase the understanding of the impact the organization makes in the community so that more people take advantage of the Y’s unique capacity to foster lasting personal and social change.

YMCA of the USA is simplifying how we describe the programs we offer so that is apparent that everything we do is designed to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve health and well-being, and motivate people to support their neighbors and larger community. Moving forward, we will be known as “the Y”. That is how people refer to us informally and it is a way of signaling that our doors are open to everyone. A new, more forward looking logo replaces the logo that has been in place for 43 years.

We are making these changes because we want to increase our impact nationwide, and we believe part of doing so involves helping people understand what we do and why we do it.

The Y works everyday to solve many of the issues Americans are most concerned about. For decades we have offered programs that help kids reach their potential, that help families and individuals achieve better health outcomes and that encourage everyone to get involved and make their community a better place. The aim is to bring more services to more people in the key areas of: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.

The Y is about changing lives for the better. We have been doing this for 160 years and hope to do it for decades to come. We view participation in our programs and services as a means to a greater end. Therefore, through our rebranding effort, we want to help our community to learn more about our work so we can help:

· More children deepen their positive values, commitment to service and motivation to learn;

· More families build stronger bonds, achieving greater work life balance and becoming more engaged in their community through the Y; and,

· More individuals improve their well-being and connect with people who care.

Monday, September 13, 2010

National Criminal Justice Commission Act

SEPTEMBER 15th: National Call-In Day to Support Senate Passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act!


In 2009, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and 15 bipartisan cosponsors introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, legislation that would create a bipartisan Commission to review and identify effective criminal justice policies and make recommendations for reform. The House of Representatives and Senate Judiciary Committee have reviewed and favorably passed the bill and it is now awaiting passage by the United States Senate. Please help us urge the Senate to prioritize and pass this important legislation as soon as possible!
(Find your Senator by clicking HERE.)


Please call your Senators to ask them to prioritize and support Senate passage of the House-passed National Criminal Justice Commission Act, H.R. 5143/S. 714, as soon as possible!


  • I am calling to ask the Senator to prioritize and support immediate Senate passage of the House-passed National Criminal Justice Commission Act, H.R. 5143/S. 714, because:
    • Having a transparent and bipartisan Commission review and identify effective criminal justice policies would increase public safety.
    • The increase in incarceration over the past twenty years has stretched the system beyond its limits. These high costs to taxpayers are unsustainable, especially during these tough economic times.
    • The proposed commission would conduct a comprehensive national review – not audits of individual state systems – and would issue recommendations – not mandates – for consideration.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MCHR to Award Homebuyer Course Scholarship to Bootheel Residents

August 2010

MCHR to Award Homebuyer Course Scholarship to Bootheel Residents

Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness ProjectOne hundred and fifty Bootheel residents will be awarded scholarships to a one-day advanced homebuyer education class designed to unravel the complicated home-purchase process and advance consumer education about fair housing. Sponsored by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) and made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the in-depth class is the latest offering in MCHR’s Bootheel-targeted outreach campaign, the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project.

Valued at $100, the course will teach attendees how to improve their credit score to better qualify for a mortgage loan, determine their financial readiness for such a major purchase, and develop a homebuyer’s wish list. Audrey Franklin, a housing counselor with HUD-approved 4-Sight Counseling, Cape Girardeau, acts as instructor for the classes and shares insider tips on ways to avoid high-cost or unfair mortgages that could ultimately lead to foreclosure. The course kicked off July 24 in Sikeston, Mo, and will continue to be held in various locations in the Bootheel through the end of the year, or until 150 scholarships are awarded. The current course schedule is as follows (additional dates and locations will be added):

August 21, 2010
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
4-Sight Counseling, Inc.
937 Broadway, Suite 305, Cape Girardeau, Mo

August 28, 2010
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
BAILS (Bootheel Area Independent Living Services)
719 Teaco Road, Kennett, Mo

August 31, 2010 & September 2, 2010
8:00 a.m. to Noon each day
Lincoln University Extension Office
201 N. Stoddard, Sikeston, Mo

September 11, 2010
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Lincoln University Extension Office
1809 Compress Street, Caruthersville, Mo

September 18, 2010
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Malden Community Center
607 N. Douglas, Malden, Mo

September 25, 2010
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location to be announced
Portageville, Mo

The $100 course fee is paid by the scholarship for the first 150 participants. Class is from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a break for lunch. For information about class dates and locations or to sign up for a scholarship, call 4-Sight Counseling, Inc. 573-334-7995.

The MCHR is an independent commission housed in the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. It is responsible for enforcing the Missouri Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), disability, and age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only). For more information about your rights, the MCHR complaint process, or the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project, visit or call 573-751-3325.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Providing better public safety in Jefferson City and Missouri

Racial Profiling and

Preventive Policing:

How to provide better public safety

by building public trust.

David A. Harris

University of Pittsburg School of Law

Author of: Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing and

Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work

Dr. Harris will discuss racial bias in police work and strategies police departments can use to protect individual rights and public safety.

2 pm, Wednesday, July 21,

Lincoln University Langston Hughes Theatre,

Martin Luther King Hall, East Dunklin and Cherry Streets,

Jefferson City

7 pm, Wednesday, July 21,

The ARC,

1701 West Ash, Columbia

The Sparkplug Foundation makes these events possible through a grant to the Missouri Association for Social Welfare

Also sponsored by: American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Forfeiture Reform, Anti-Defamation League, Boone County Libertarian Party, City of Columbia Human Rights Commission and Department of Public Health and Human Services, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Center of Central Missouri, Jefferson City Multicultural Forum, Jefferson City PFLAG, Keep Columbia Free, Lincoln University Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Missouri Association for Social Welfare, Missouri Department of Peace, Missouri Human Rights Commission, Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, Missouri Interfaith IMPACT, NAACP, NORML, PROMO, St Louis Human Rights Services, St Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America, St Louis Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, and others.

For more information:

Don Love, MASW Human Rights Task Force Chair

573 875 7918 or

Pledge to Stop Hate


NAACPERs and Friends
Sign the Pledge
We are not backing down.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010, , the NAACP passed a resolution condemning the racist acts of Tea Party protesters. The backlash from the Tea Party has been furious.

But we are not an organization that shies away from controversy. The NAACP was founded on hope, not hate -- and we will not stand idly by as racists work to divide our nation.

Add your name to our pledge to unify America and stop the racism:

The NAACP does not have a problem with the Tea Party, nor its existence. We have a problem with their acceptance and their welcoming of prejudice into their organization.

And in case there is any misunderstanding about what defines racism, let me be clear.

In March, racial slurs were hurled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they passed by a Tea Party health care protest in Washington, DC. Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver was spat on. People at the rally held signs covered in bigotry.

That is racism. That is racism filled with hate, ignorance and acts of violence. And we will not stand for it.

We are calling on all Americans to stand for the values that have made our country the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sign the pledge now:

The past year has been one of major triumphs and major setbacks in the fight for racial equality. But we will not let bigotry silence us.

We are one people. We are one nation. And we are all NAACP Americans.

Thank you for your support,

Ben Jealous
President and CEO

Thursday, April 15, 2010


BALTIMORE, MD – The NAACP family is deeply saddened by the passing of Executive Director and CEO Emeritus Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks. Dr. Benjamin Hooks served as Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP from 1977-1992.

“Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks was among the greatest Americans of the 20th Century. He was a giant of hope and humanity who, as Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP, expanded the circle of opportunity in our nation for millions by greatly accelerating the desegregation of our largest corporations. He was a crusading lawyer—the first Black judge in Tennessee since Reconstruction— who confronted Southern Justice on behalf of the down trodden and oppressed. He was a courageous and committed preacher of the Word who, as chairman of the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, insisted that our nation acknowledge and respect the dignity of all Americans regardless of race and ethnicity, as well as gender and sexual orientation. He was a great organizer, communicator, and mentor to legions of young leaders who continue to define our nation today. He was simply the greatest living person to have served as Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP. We will miss him dearly” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

“The NAACP is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks. Dr. Hooks led this organization to new heights, and we will continue to honor his legacy by fighting on, in his words with truth, justice and righteousness on our side,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “Not only was Dr. Hooks the NAACP Executive Director and CEO Emeritus but he was a civil rights icon and my mentor and personal friend. He taught me to stand up for what I believe in; even in the face of adversity, and that the struggle for civil and human rights for all Americans never ends. Dr. Hooks was a giant in the civil rights movement, in the NAACP and in my life, it is in his memory and the memory of all the other civil rights soldiers who have passed that I will lead the NAACP into the second century,” concluded Brock.

“Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks was a dynamic NAACP CEO who lifted the organization and by force of personality gave it a heightened presence on the national scene. He performed my wedding ceremony to my wife Pam and was a stalwart advisor during my tenure as Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. Dr. Hooks will be much missed,” stated Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond.

NAACP Chairman Emeritus Myrlie Evers-Williams added: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my personal friend and one of America’s most outstanding civil rights leaders Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks. Dr. Hooks was one of the strongest supporters of my husband Medgar Evers, and a strong supporter of mine during my three years as Chairman of the Board. He was a trusted advisor and never ceased to share his wisdom on pressing issues of the day. He welcomed the involvement of all people in the NAACP and the civil rights movement. I know that his spirit will remain with us as we move forward in the struggle for justice and equality.”

“The NAACP and the Civil Rights movement lost a giant today. Dr. Hooks was a man who broke down racial barriers throughout his entire life, and dedicated his personal and professional life to the struggle for all people of color. I had the pleasure of serving as National President of the NAACP while Dr. Hooks was Executive Director and CEO. He worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans were treated equally and righteously, he inspired everyone he spoke to and dealt with. Without a leader like Dr. Hooks we would not have the generation of leaders we have today, Chairman Roslyn Brock and President and CEO Jealous. Dr. Hooks will be missed terribly,” stated NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel N. Dukes.

Hooks was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1925. He graduated from Howard University in 1944 and then joined the army shortly thereafter where he earned the rank of staff sergeant. After completing his army duty, Dr. Hooks enrolled in DePaul University College of Law after no Tennessee law school would admit him. Upon receiving his law degree, Hooks returned to Memphis to practice law and he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1965 he became Tennessee’s first black criminal court judge and in 1972 Richard Nixon appointed him to be one of the five commissioners of the FCC. On November 6, 1976, the NAACP Board of Directors elected Hooks as Executive Director where he served until 1992.

Dr. Hooks spoke at the NAACP’s Centennial Convention in New York last July and left the NAACP with words to live by: “Let’s fight on until justice runs down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream. Let’s fight on until there is no down-sizing, until there is no glass ceiling. Let’s fight on until God shall gather the four winds of heaven; until the angel shall plant one foot on the sea and the other on dry land and declare that the time that has been will be no more. Fight on, until the lion shall lie down with the lamb. Fight on, until justice, righteousness, hopes equality and opportunity is the birthright of all Americans.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wanna Send Your 4th Grader to Prison? Its easy, don’t vote today and let someone else think for you.

So is little Johnny going to leave the playground for the prison yard? It is a serious question. Growing bodies of research indicate that we can use demographic information to determine who will be going to prison and in some cases the graveyard.

It is scary to consider the lost potential held inside prison walls, and what about the money it takes to keep a person in prison verses the cost and long term benefit of a quality education? It ought to be a crime to recognize when you have a set of circumstances that encourages poverty, prison and death and still do nothing to stop it. Make a difference by improving education in Jefferson City. Vote today in the school board election and for the other ballot issues. Get information on voting here.

What can we do?

There is a one hit fix – care. That’s advice to all of us – care.

For example, look at the fight going on in Kansas City over their school board. Some may say that Kansas City and St. Louis are worlds away, but our issues and problems are the same in two regards: 1) there are low performing schools in both districts that according to the research will send our kids to prison, the graveyard and other potentially as detrimental circumstances that we as the citizenry can stop; and 2) we need leaders here like those across the country, who have heard the call for improvement in our schools and are willing to lead that challenge.

As an example, Airick Leonard West has single handedly (as a leader responding to his constituent's concerns) pushed Kansas City School Board to make changes not only in the way they manage resources and people, but also in the way school children are taught. Longer school days packed with hard core information as opposed to PE all day, closing schools that are not working financially and updating the traditional thought about what kids who suffer from a failing system need to survive. His work shows that he cares about more than being on the school board, he wants sustained improvement and has committed himself to one term to get it done.

Of course leadership in these trying times demands courage and intellect. Jefferson City needs the willingness to discuss intelligent ideas backed by research. Jefferson City deserves an informed and caring school board. We can have that through the engagement of parents and concerned community members.

The issues are in plain sight.

Current data available at DESE suggests that Jefferson City needs to take a hard look at how it is doing the business of education. The state's data suggests that schools working with parents can serve our kids by preparing them for the challenges that are coming tomorrow. We can see those challenges today and have an obligation to improve the system. Some of the problems are being fleshed out by the school district even now - improving school buildings, implementing efficiency measures, asking more from students, and increasing expectations inside and out of the classroom. The first step is easy - vote today. Then either join the PTA, the NAACP, or on your own, get involved in schools in your area as a concerned partner, parent and taxpayer.

We can do better.

Want an example of the impact research can have on a discussion? Children are ready to learn and best able to do so before they have traditionally been included in the school setting - before age 5. Early childhood education is the best idea we have had in jefferson City in years. Where has it been? I don't know, but it is based on research as deep as the Missouri river that says "teach em young" and they do better. It will have long ranging implications for the development of the community we live in and the productivity of workers in Mid-Missouri. Caring and smart administrators and teachers are attempting to offer our children better opportunities. These efforts have a better chance of diminishing the prison population than the 'hard on crime' platitudes have had. Those efforts ought to be applauded and we can do that with our vote today.

We the NAACP are here and prepared to have that conversation after today's election. Will you join us in that conversation?

Wondering who to vote for?

In case you missed it, the Jefferson City NAACP in conjunction with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., held a Community Wide School Board Forum last month. Members of the community asked the questions that day. Please watch the forum - it ought to be on the website anytime now - or email and the file can be sent to you at no charge. You can also visit the websites of the candidates for more information.

Join in the effort to make the schools and thereby the community a better place – join the NAACP; vote; and make a difference.

Vote for your choice of candidate and make the commitment to look seriously at the issues we have in Jefferson City even after the election. CARE enough to save a child from prison or worse.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Community Wide Jefferson City School Board Forum

4 candidates. 2 seats. 90 minutes of your questions. The future of our kids is up to you.

Attend the forum and learn more about the people that want to safeguard the educational interests of your children. Get your questions answered.

If you can’t make it, the entire forum will be broadcast on JCTV and distributed digitally to the members of the participating organizations and on the NAACP website.

Where: Jefferson City Council Chambers

When: March 18, 2010

6-7:30 PM

Admission is free. Individuals and community groups are invited to submit questions through the moderator.

Sponsored by: the Jefferson City, MO National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Elizabeth A. Briscoe-Wilson Appointed to the Emancipation Day Commission by Governor Nixon

Gov. Nixon makes board and commission appointments

Jefferson City, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today announced his appointment to the Emancipation Day Commission. The appointees do not require confirmation by the Missouri Senate.

Emancipation Day Commission

The Governor has appointed Elizabeth A. Briscoe-Wilson, of Jefferson City, to the Emancipation Day Commission. State law designates each June 19 as Emancipation Day in Missouri. Gov. Nixon created the Emancipation Day Commission through an executive order with the purpose of promoting, considering and recommending appropriate activities for the annual recognition and celebration of Emancipation Day.

Briscoe-Wilson is the university librarian for Lincoln University in Jefferson City and a university seminar instructor on cultural diversity. She received her undergraduate degree from Lincoln University and her master's degree from Alabama A&M. She has been appointed for a term ending at the pleasure of the Governor.

Please congratulate Mrs. Wilson on her appointment by Governor Nixon to this important post.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Census Is Coming, The Census Coming!

This coming Monday, check out the U.S. Census Bureau’s Traveling Road Show on the south lawn of the Capitol. The event is open to the public.

The Portrait of America Road Tour includes interactive exhibits where participants will share images and stories, explaining why the census will make a difference to their communities. You can learn more about the road tour on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr. You also can track the vehicles throughout the country on an interactive map on the Web site,

Monday is the targeted mail out date for census forms, so in addition to the Bureau’s exhibits and the live entertainment, they will be a press conference at 11:30 a.m. to remind residents to be watching for their forms, fill them out and mail them back.

In Missouri, Gov. Nixon created the statewide Complete Count Committee by executive order. The committee is chaired by OA Commissioner Kelvin Simmons and its purpose is to raise awareness of the 2010 Census and encourage full participation by all Missourians. We need a complete count.

Lori Simms

Complete Count Committee

Mr. Beck Comes to River City But Skips the Invitation for a Beer and Good Conversation

Recently, I had an opportunity to comment on TV personality Glenn Beck coming to Jefferson City as a headliner of a very successful local nonprofit. The question was based on Mr. Beck's prior commentary that our president is a racist. If you have not seen the clip , it was not entertaining, humorous or really Mr. Beck's best performance.

So here is my comment on Mr. Beck's visit to River City:

"Glenn Beck is a gifted entertainer, but his performance ought to be compared to a comedy routine.

Some people like profane comedy and others care for cheap race baiting commentary. Beck's specific comments about Obama being a racist are bombastic and remain unsupported.

Just as important, Jefferson City and Missouri have thwarted other attempts to bring confusion on the real issues that concern communities. What this community needs is an opportunity to heal and grow - in the last two years we have dealt with neo-nazis marching in our town spreading threats of violence and hate, and we have dealt with some Kansas Christians preaching death, we don't need a New York styled media mogul bringing anymore confusion.

To that end, I challenge Mr. Beck to have a real discussion on American values with me. Just the two of us. And I will buy the beer."

Perhaps the most troubling fact that learned from the comments posted to the News Tribune article is that some of our neighbors think that the NAACP is a racist organization. Please tell everyone every time you get an opportunity that the NAACP is open to everyone and wants/needs the support of everyone who loves justice and equality.

Nimrod Chapel, Jr., President
Jefferson City, Mo Unit 4064 NAACP