Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NAACP General Membership meeting LIVE!

This is coming to you as a live report from the Cathedral Church of God in Christ, at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr Drive and Lamontier Ave.

I am actually in one of the Church’s ancillary buildings, which serves during the week as the home of Woodland Academy, a charter school operated by White Hat Management.

This is the first real meeting of the general membership in several years, occasioned by the election of new officers of the local chapter.

Right now there are about eighty members in the room, including a handful of the organization's governing body, its Executive Committee. The purpose of the meeting is to select a Nominating Committee that will recommend a slate of sixteen to thirty-two officers and executive committee members. 

A substantial number of those in attendance are apparently members of Greater Abysinnia Baptist Church, led by the redoubtable Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness. Caviness is running a determined campaign to elect Hilton Smith, a vice president of Turner Construction as well as an assistant pastor at Greater Abysinnia.

Elected to the Nominating Committee thus far: former Congressman Louis Stokes.

In a bit of a surprise, the nomination of long time NAACP officer Eugene Jordan, DDS was defeated 28-17. Most of the opposition came from the Caviness-Smith faction.

Right now the meeting is bogged down over procedural squabbles about  the process for how the balance of the committee should be conducted.

A few minutes ago, the procedural issue was resolved when a motion passed to start over.

Thirteen people have been nominated: Louis Stokes, Darnell Brewer, Sara Harper, Jackie Caviness Tucker, Mary Hill, Eugene Jordan, Tyrone Bolden, Michael Nelson, Wendell Turner, Pippa Carter, Kyle Earley, Michelle Felder, Ron Kisner, and Sheila Wright.

As the votes are being tallied, president James Hardiman is leading a discussion on capital punishment and its discriminatory application against people of color. Attorney Michael Nelson urged that pressure be applied to Cleveland City Council for the passage of an ordinance installing cameras in  all police cruisers. He said Cleveland is the only large city in the State that does not mandate cruiser cameras.

Hardiman has just announced that this is the largest meeting of the branch in about six years. 

Community activist Gerald Henley urged Cleveland voters to support the November school levy, saying that some classrooms at A. J. Rickoff School  — where he said his wife teaches — on Cleveland's east side have fifty children.

Interim executive director Arlene Anderson announced the results of the voting. In descending order of most votes received: Louis Stokes, Sara Harper, tyrone Bolden, Jackie Caviness Tucker, Mary Hills, Pippa Carter, and Wendell Turner. The current membership status of Bolden, Hills and Carter is in doubt, subject to replacement by in order by Eugene Jordan, Michael Nelson and Ronald Kisner.

The next general membership meeting will be October 16 at a location to be announced.

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