Saturday, November 03, 2012
Three Vie to Lead Cleveland NAACP
The eyes of the nation are justifiably on Cuyahoga County these days, for our county and state are ground zero in the presidential race. The turnout here could very likely determine whether President Obama or former Governor Romney carries Ohio; this in turn could decide who carries the Electoral College, and thus determines the next Commander-in-Chief, the man who could decide whether to enter another undeclared and expensive war or two, in addition to probably nominating the next couple of Supreme Court justices, who in turn are likely to determine a host of key issues for decades, including the ultimate outcomes of women’s right to choose, affirmative action, and a host of other social, economic, and political issues. Hey, not too much at stake here.
Obviously, the focus on Cuyahoga voters is well placed. A lot is riding on the outcome of Tuesday’s results: globally, nationally, statewide, and in many local communities. All voters should be careful to go all the way down their ballots TO THE END in order to weigh in on matters of importance.
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For a select group of Cuyahogans, next week’s vote will not mean even a temporary political respite.
On Sunday, November 11, the Cleveland NAACP — which this year celebrated its 100th Anniversary — will hold its biannual election to select its leadership for the next two years. While local NAACP elections have generally gone unnoticed for most of the past two decades — by both members and even many of the candidates! — this year’s vote is a potential watershed moment for the direction of civil rights in Greater Cleveland.
As we have previously reported — see for example, here, here, here and here — the NAACP has suffered under debilitating one-man rule for two decades. But the midterm resignation of former president George L. Forbes under almostslapstick conditions has resulted in three strong candidates stepping up to become the leader of what is still the city and the nation’s most important civil rights organization.
This has not happened since 1992, when Forbes won the presidency by defeating Rev. Larry Harris and former councilwoman Mildred Madison in a campaign that had nearly two thousand members turn out to vote.
After twenty years of autocratic leadership, many NAACP insiders doubt whether the Branch even has 2000 members.
Given the importance of the organization, we wanted to offer the community a first hand unfiltered look at each candidate, one of whom will soon be a regular public spokesman for Cleveland’s largest and oldest civil rights organization.
We invited each of the candidates — Clint Bradley, Jocelyn Travis, and Hilton Smith— to introduce themselves to the community and answer a few questions about their visions for the future. Unfortunately, we were able to capture only two of the candidates on camera; the third candidate travels heavily and thus appears by his written answers to our questions.
We are presently uploading the candidates’ responses as indicated and expect to have them online no later than Monday noon. We will post a notice here and on Facebook when the video is up. We invite your comments here on the election all this week.