Local NAACP Branch To Hold Elections

BY DAVID STOKES

As some Atlantans continue to wipe away tears and disgust from last week's Election Day mauling of Democrats for state and national offices, another elective office race is reaching a feverish climax with several known and unknown locals—amid cries of a need for "change to progress" in the New Millennium—seeking top posts within the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

With the election of local NAACP officers scheduled to take place on Nov. 18, after the group's Nominating Committee has issued the charge of members to converge for voting, members will then set to cast their ballots for president, vice president and other offices. Furthermore, according to some members speaking anonymously to The Inquirer, change in the organization's top leadership is welcome and "couldn't be coming at a better time," one member requesting anonymity said. Nonetheless, after 16 years as chapter president, the Rev. R.L. White will not seek re-election for the top spot, he exclusively told The Inquirer last week. "I've been (president since 1997), and now, it's time for me to conserve my energies for other things," the Mount Ephraim Baptist Church senior pastor said. Rev. White, who is also president of national alumni for Atlanta's Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), indicated that while he will continue to work with the local NAACP chapter, he noted, "I've given my best, from dealing with the Georgia flag issue, to the South Carolina state flag flap, as well as working for getting-out-the-vote and voter turnout, I've done my best" as local president, and "I've tried to impact well with other issues, but I need a break now." Upon White not seeking re-election, a plethora of names has arisen for the top spot of president, including former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, local ministers and others of prominence throughout the city. While Rev. White has led the civil rights group in Atlanta, overall, "he has been a decent leader that I respect," exclaimed another member who chose not to be named for this story. "There's always room for new blood and energy which the chapter needs, and I am looking forward to seeing who will become the new president," the member relayed. With the former mayor on running to become president, Campbell was insistent that a campaign was not in the works. When reached by The Inquirer via cell phone two weeks ago, Bro. Campbell said, "while I am extremely honored and humbled my name has been mentioned, I am not running for the position. I think it's better to have someone younger seek (the presidency)," Campbell, now 60 years old, said. Campbell concluded, "I will always be appreciative of the opportunities with leadership Atlantans have afforded me, but I will now remain and stay involved with voter registration efforts and help in other ways I can" with the NAACP. Another possible contender is the Rev. Gerald Durley, retired senior pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in southwest Atlanta. Known citywide as an observer—and mover and shaker—of nearly everything political and related to religion, Rev. Durley proclaimed, when reached last week, "I have not been approached by anyone (to run for president); therefore, "no, I am not running for the position." However, Durley was not definitive with answering whether he'd be interested in the position if he were contacted to run. Another possible contender is Thomas W. Dortch, according to a well-placed member speaking to The Inquirer. Dortch, owner/president of TWD, Inc. of Atlanta and former executive assistant to retired Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, is a longtime member with deep ties to the Atlanta chapter by way of the legendary Jondelle H. Johnson (1924-98), the chapter's iconic executive director who led the branch to exemplary success and status in the '80s and '90s, and who labored at the national office in Baltimore to ultimately create the organization's national ACT-SO competition, as well as other group initiatives. (At presstime, Dortch was unreachable to comment on a possible presidential candidacy.)

The Atlanta chapter, throughout the years, has been one of productivity, as well as recent controversy, pertaining to programs and other initiatives, respectively. The annual Jondelle H. Johnson Freedom Fund dinner, the chapter's fundraiser held each November, was proclaimed as "another success," according to the aforementioned member, "which tells the story of how much Mrs. Johnson was loved and well-respected, and how the membership works to keep her legacy intact." Now located within downtown Atlanta's United Way-Robert Woodruff building on Edgewood Avenue, the chapter, formerly located at 3000 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, has endured controversy with previous years elections and allegations of financial malfeasance and mismanagement. According to the member seeking anonymity, "the Atlanta branch has seen and been through some tough times, but we've always managed to stay the course and continue moving forward. In these turbulent political days, now is really not the time to complain about little things. We must forge ahead to fight the battles of continued access to the ballot box and eliminate voting discrimination, receive fair housing and employment, keeping our young Black men safe and productive from police brutality, and equal opportunity for all people." Another possible contender for chapter president, nevertheless, is Atlanta businessman Richard Rose, according to the member. When reached last week, Rose, a certified public accountant who once served on the chapter's board of directors, confirmed that he is running for president, and is enthusiastic—and optimistic—on "making the chapter relevant again". The Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) graduate who hails from Memphis also indicated that he's "choosing now to serve more" because "I believe in the NAACP's work". Rose continued, "There does need to be some changes to make the chapter more relevant and proficient again, as well as including to get African-Americans to fully participate in the political process (with voting)," along with other initiatives in the political process. Rose also accentuated on the need to "work with the young people, young Black men, in particular, to go vote, as well as participate in other attempts to advance NAACP's work. We also need to provide mentors for young Black men and teens" to complete productive and positive education and employment structure, Rose proclaimed.

The chapter's election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 18, and is open to all members who are current with their annual membership dues. NAACP Life members who have paid the full Life membership allotment, furthermore, are eligible to vote in all elections. Should you have any questions pertaining to your membership—or seek to join the country's oldest civil rights organization, founded in 1909—you may call the chapter's office, for interim Executive Director Mary Ross, at (404) 524-0580.


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Boyd Elementary Students Awarded With New Books and a Reading Oasis

ATLANTA—As part of Newell Rubbermaid’s second-annual Global Day of Service , dozens of employees volunteered at William Boyd Elementary School and Burgess-Peterson Academy to sponsor a special assembly and a Scholastic “Read and Rise” Book Fair at each school.

During the assembly at Boyd Elementary, Newell Rubbermaid President and CEO Michael Polk presented a certificate announcing the donation of 2,500 books to Boyd Principal Keisha Gibbons and Atlanta Public Schools Deputy Superintendent David Jernigan before students, teachers and volunteers. Polk also announced the company’s donation of a Reading Oasis, a special room at the school designed to encourage students to read books leisurely in a peaceful environment. After the assembly, Newell Rubbermaid employees volunteered at Boyd Elementary as classroom readers, book fair clerks and cashiers during the Scholastic Book Fair. Each student selected five free books of their choice, courtesy of Newell Rubbermaid.

“Newell Rubbermaid has always been committed to improving consumers’ lives in the communities we serve,” said Newell Rubbermaid’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Polk. “We are increasing our emphasis on education for community investment and employee volunteerism because education is critical to helping grow communities around the world. Our employees in every time zone are passionate about providing youth and young adults with the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. Our donation of teacher toolboxes to Atlanta Public Schools in our headquarters location in Atlanta is one example of how Newell Rubbermaid is providing access to the tools that teachers and students need.”

In partnership with the Kids in Need Foundation, Newell Rubbermaid plans to donate a “Teacher’s Toolbox” to Atlanta Public Schools teachers at 106 learning sites later this year and through the end through of 2015—a time when teachers and students are most in need of school supplies. Complete with writing tools including the company’s well known Sharpie®, Paper Mate®, Expo® and Mr. Sketch® brands and other products, the supplies will be donated to more than 3,800 Atlanta Public Schools teachers benefitting 50,000 students.

"We're excited that Newell Rubbermaid has made literacy a core part of their Global Day of Service," says Ann Amstutz Hayes, senior vice president, National Partnerships, Scholastic. “Motivating children to read more is at The center of our mission at Scholastic, and we thank all the volunteers who are taking time out of their day to serve as reading role models for so many children around the world."

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 106 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us .

Newell Rubbermaid Inc., an S&P 500 company, is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with 2013 sales of $5.7 billion and a strong portfolio of leading brands, including Sharpie®, Paper Mate®, Rubbermaid Commercial Products®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Parker®, Waterman®, Contigo®, Rubbermaid®, Levolor®, Calphalon®, Goody®, Graco®, Aprica® and Dymo®. As part of the company's Growth Game Plan, Newell Rubbermaid is making sharper portfolio choices and investing in new marketing and innovation to accelerate performance.

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in Educational technology and related services and children's media. Scholastic creates quality books and ebooks, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, magazines, multi-media and other products that help children learn both at school and at home. The Company distributes its products and services worldwide through a variety of channels, including school-based book clubs and book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, on-air, and online at www.scholastic.com .


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