Remembering Aretha

The following press statement was issued by Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony regarding the passing of the
Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.

DETROIT (August 16, 2018) – Every now and then God sends us a beautiful melody. Melodies created within a song that which lingers on. Aretha Franklin was a melody. Her song may have ended but the melody of her life will linger on. It lingers on because of her spirit, her service, and her commitment to the people of God. She was more than an entertainer. She was an edu-tainer. She educated, and she entertained. She uplifted as she inspired. She magnified as she focused. As she has now made her transition, may we in the community of life continue to travel down the Freeway of Love, offering to each other more Respect. Let us continue to work together. We must never forget to Think and Say a Little Prayer for each other. As we do so, let us also say a big prayer for freedom, justice, and equality. In the words of Aretha Franklin let us simply Jump To It. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

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Our Region Needs Cooperation Not Denigration!

The following press statement was issued by Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony regarding the comments made by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

DETROIT (August 9, 2018) – The recent comments of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson concerning the effort of CEO’s in Detroit and the region to come together to advance the cause of Southeast Michigan were unwarranted, unnecessary, and most racist. The City of Detroit, along with Southeast Michigan is in a great period of outreach and expansion for business and community. This should inspire all of us. CEO’s who have never joined together in the quest to bring economic development to this region are now working together for the benefit of our communities. The comments of L. Brooks Patterson indicating, “Oh hell no. I’d rather join the Klan” come at a very critical time. The racial divide within our nation is stark and deep. If we are to progress as people who believe in diversity and sharing the resources for all people, this racial wall must be torn down.

Mr. Brooks did issue an apology indicating, “Sometimes when I’m passionate about a topic, I choose sharp words and purposely engage in hyperbole to get my point across.” Someone should inform Mr. Patterson that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words that reek of racism can break your spirit and your will. An apology is appropriate, but more than just an apology is having the will and a plan to do better. We do not need walls of division between suburb and city. We need bridges between every city and area in our region. These are the kind of words that remind me of George Wallace standing in the doorway at the University of Alabama in 1963 in which he said to black students trying to enter, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Click here Press Statement – Our Region Needs Cooperation Not Denigration to read the statement in its entirety.

Every Vote Must Count, Let’s Keep The Power On!

The following press statement was issued by the Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony.

DETROIT (August 7, 2018) – The Detroit Branch NAACP has received several complaints regarding power shortages at various polling locations. This has resulted in machines being unable to function properly and individuals not being able to cast their ballots. Polling locations identified in Detroit are McKenzie Middle School, Zion Chapel, Woodbridge Elementary, Gompers Elementary, and Lasky Recreation Center. We have also received reports from the city of Dearborn regarding Nowlin Elementary and Howard Elementary schools.

This is unacceptable and must not create further apathy among the citizens in their effort to exercise their voting rights. This situation further demonstrates the need not only for updated machinery and technology, but to maintain as an alternative updated and available paper ballots. The assurance of a paper ballot in circumstances like this can help re-affirm to the voter that their vote will be counted. When one considers the challenge in getting people to the polls, there must not be any obstacle, stumbling block, or barrier that will prevent their access to the ballot.

Click here Press Statement — Every Vote Must Count Let’s Keep The Power On  to read the statement in its entirety.

Police Abuse of Any Citizen Must Not Be Tolerated!

Detroit Branch NAACP President issued the following press statement regarding the suspension and investigation of a Detroit Police Department officer beating of a mentally ill woman.

DETROIT (August 2, 2018) – Once again, we find ourselves forced to denounce another inappropriate action on the part of a member of our police department. The recent beating of a mentally ill woman while held in custody at Detroit Receiving Hospital is unacceptable, inappropriate, and inexcusable. Part of the oath that a police officer takes includes this section: “I will uphold fundamental human rights and afford equal respect to all people according to law.” Police officers are held to a higher standard and must be accountable for their actions which could lead to injury and death.

This very tragic incident reminds us again of the need for training, accountability, and monitoring of members of law enforcement. Police Chief James Craig was correct in immediately indicating at today’s press conference, a “grave concern and being troubled by the video displaying the incident.” The suspension of the police officer is indeed appropriate. An 18-year veteran should know better and is expected to do better. While we do not excuse and condone disrespect or abuse by citizens on police officers, it is understood that such occasions of possible conflict will occur. It is in these circumstances where training kicks in. In such situations, sound judgement must be demonstrated. Police officers carry tasers, handcuffs, and communication devices. They go through physical and mental training. As the Detroit Police Department must deal with at least 500 calls per month regarding the mentally ill, this was not an unusual situation. Certainly, three or four officers should be able to detain a naked, mentally challenged woman. The officer in question has had mental health and community policing and advocacy training.

Click here to read the statement in its entirety Press Statement – Police Abuse of Any Citizen Must Not Be Tolerated.

 

Press Statement — Keep Your Spit to Yourself!

The following press statement was issued by Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony regarding the assault on Ibrahim Mission by Robert Stanzler.  

DETROIT (July 24, 2018) – Today, Robert Stanzler of Ferndale was arraigned in 36th District Court after being charged with assault and battery. On July 17th, Mr. Stanzler, in an act of rage and total disrespect, spit in the face of security guard Ibrahim Mission. This most despicable act is tantamount to reaching down to the lowest level in the degradation of one person to another. It indicates a total disrespect and dehumanization for one’s own humanity. After his arraignment, Mr. Stanzler received a $5,000 conditional bond and is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on August 2nd.

The Detroit Branch NAACP condemns this act of degradation, humiliation, and possible even racial discrimination. Ibrahim Mission is a responsible young man, doing a significant job in the area of security for many community organizations. As a matter of fact, he was on his job when this incident occurred. He has worked on many programs for security including the Annual NAACP Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner. The event in which he was attacked unfortunately was an occasion where visitors from around the world were in Detroit to attend the “Good Pitch” social justice gathering. It was a major media event. Regardless of the event, spitting in one’s face is unacceptable for any occasion.

Click here to read the press statement in its entirety — Press Statement — Keep Your Spit to Yourself.

Detroit Branch NAACP Announces Leadership Change!

DETROIT BRANCH NAACP ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGE!

DETROIT (July 11, 2018) – The Detroit Branch NAACP congratulates and applauds the selection of former Executive Director Donnell R. White as the new Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Strategic Partnerships for Chemical Bank. Chemical Bank is a subsidiary of the Chemical Financial Corporation. Continuing on in the legacy of his work at the Detroit Branch NAACP, the nation’s largest branch, Mr. White will both establish and lead strategies to attract, engage, and develop a diversity of talent across the organization. He will have an even greater role in developing new relationships with community organizations, businesses, and individuals committed to the growth of this city and region. Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony said, “We are very proud of Donnell and the service he has provided since he was a child. He started off with this organization when his mother, Ms. Yvonne White, Michigan State Conference NAACP President would bring him and his brother to the branch on Saturdays. They started off cleaning up the office and Donnell emerged to serve as the leader of the office, as the youngest Executive Director in the nation. He has demonstrated both a sense of management and activism in both the street and the suite in the quest for civil and human rights. The Chemical Bank family is blessed to have him as one of their own. It is not our loss, but our community’s gain.”

At the same time, the Detroit Branch is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Kamilia Landrum, a 2016 New Leaders Council Fellow, currently the Program & Member Service Director for the Detroit Branch, as the new Executive Deputy Director. Kamilia Landrum has served with Donnell White and former Executive Director Heaster Wheeler in a variety of capacities. Overseeing programming for strategic priorities in the areas of civic engagement, criminal justice, economic sustainability, education, and health, Ms. Landrum recently coordinated the branches visit to Grand Rapids to demonstrate against the separation of children from their families. Ms. Landrum received her Bachelors of Applied Science in Business Administration from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. She has acquired her Masters in Public Administration in Non-Profit Policy and Management from Wayne State University. Recently named one of the Michigan Chronicles 40 under 40, she serves as a Community Advisory Council member for Health Alliance Plan and the Detroit Sports Zone. She’s a current member of the Southfield Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a member emeritus of the NAACP National Board of Directors, serving on Audit Finance, Image Awards, and Youth Works committees. According to Rev. Anthony, “Kamilia comes in at a very critical time in our nations history. There are so many issues that we will confront in the days ahead. We are also preparing for our National Convention to be held in Detroit in 2019. I am certain that Kamilia will continue in her new role with both confidence and commitment to the goals and objectives of the NAACP. I have known her since she was President of our Youth Council and a part of our ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) program here at the branch. She is already doing an excellent job.

The Detroit Branch will begin a local search for an Executive Director following the NAACP National Convention that will be held in San Antonio Texas, July 14-18, 2018.

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Let’s Reunite Parents and Children Now

The following press statement was issued by Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony.

DETROIT (July 10, 2018) – The Coalition led by the Detroit Branch NAACP which includes Grand Rapids Branch NAACP, Michigan State Conference NAACP, Michigan Conference United Church of Christ, Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL), ACLU of Michigan, Greater Lansing Clergy Forum, LA SED, Progressive National Baptist Convention, UAW Region 1D, and LEAD Michigan supports the recent efforts of the Bethany Christian Center to re-unite children under 5 with their families. This coalition made a trip to Grand Rapids on June 27th to protest the separation of children from their families at the border by the Trump administration. It also included a sit-down discussion with officials at the Bethany Christian Center on the need to re-unite all children. The Federal court has determined that children under 5 must be re-united with their families as of July 10th. The Trump administration is seeking an extension due to the fact that they are unable to identify parent and child. In the words of a mother separated from her child at the border, “Why was it so easy to take my child from me and yet so hard for you to bring my child back to me?” This evil incompetence on the part of the Trump administration reflects the malfunction in the very heart of the American spirit.

Click the link Press Statement — Let’s Reunite Parents and Children Now  to read the statement in its entirety.

Let’s Reunite the Children with Their Families Now!

The following press statement was given by Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony during a rally and press conference in Grand Rapids, Mich. urging for the reunification of immigrant children with their families.

DETROIT (June 27, 2018) – Today we have come to Grand Rapids, not to separate people, highlight political divisions, or exacerbate family values. We are here because as people of God we believe in the teachings as expressed by the Psalmist in 127:3, “Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from him.” Recognizing that God in his infinite wisdom has blessed us with a special gift, when one goes about the business of tearing a child from its parents, you are in fact ripping the gift that has been provided by God.

We are here today because we want to restore the gift. We want not to separate, but to unify. We want as a people not to have conflict, but to have compliment in the ability to recognize the dignity of all people. We cannot as Christians, Muslims, Jews, or whatever our faith orientation may be stand idly by and watch infants, toddlers, and teenagers, who have done nothing other than seek a better life, be torn asunder. For those who believe these actions may not impact you, there was a prominent protestant pastor by the name of Martin Niemoller who during WWII spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in a concentration camp. He is best remembered for these words: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Click here Press Statement — Let’s Reunite Children Now to read the statement in its entirety.