2011 NAACP San Diego Branch
President's Report to the Membership

2011 NAACP San Diego Branch President’s Report to the Membership

We started out this term with the NAACP San Diego Branch receiving the NAACP CA State Conference Dr. H. Claude Hudson Award at the CA State Annual Convention in Oakland. We were recognized for our work during 2010 for our advocacy and organizing work. Mr. Hudson, who passed in 1989, at the age of 102, was the son of slaves. Mr. Hudson was a dentist and the first African-American to get a law degree from Loyola University in Los Angeles. Mr. Hudson, who was considered a founder of the NAACP, was for years known simply as "Mr. NAACP”.

We were successful in intervening in the Associated General Contractors of America v. California Department of Transportation lawsuit. We were granted summary judgment in opposing the lawsuit which seeks to dismantle Caltrans' Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE). The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Northern California, Equal Justice Society (EJS) and the law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP filed the motion on behalf of the Coalition for Economic Equity (CEE) and the NAACP San Diego Branch. The DBE program strives to give minority and women-owned businesses equal opportunity to compete for federal contracts and to level the playing field. U.S. District Judge John Mendez, of the Eastern District of California, in Sacramento, ruled in March 2011 that Caltrans had shown that without the preferences, its contracting practices discriminate against minorities and women. In May 2011, the opposing side filed an appeal which is pending with a hearing scheduled soon.

In that same vein, we signed on to the Amicus Curiae Brief in support of the US 6th Circuit overturning Michigan’s Proposal 2 Anti-Affirmative Action Proposition which is similar to our CA Prop. 209. There is now a split in authority between the 9th and 6th Circuits and it is anticipated that the Supreme Court of the United States will take up the issue.

We have continued to honor our mission statement to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of people of color and all citizens and to eliminate racial prejudice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through the democratic process.

We stood with the East African Somalia community on their issues with being targeted and arrested for what they believed to be unfounded and unsupported allegations of “terrorists’ acts” by law enforcement. We stood with CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) San Diego when that community was under attack with anti-Muslim sentiments. We signed on to the CAIR SD letter addressed to the FBI concerning its anti-Muslim training.

We stood with our unions, AFSCME Local 127, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council and UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, in June the with Rev. Al Sharpton and Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME International Lee Saunders to protect working families and public services at the Town Hall Meeting held at the MLK Center, Bayview Baptist Church. We stood with Senator Juan Vargas for support of In Home Support Services (IHSS) and to block further cuts to these services that are vital to our community members.

We held several community forums on domestic violence and the HEATS (Human Exploitation and Trafficking in Sex) with our community partners. We took part in the redistricting process for both the City and County of San Diego and the Diversity Affair at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

We had a presence at community events such as the Jackie Robinson YMCA Human Dignity Breakfast, MLK, Jr. All People’s Breakfast, LGBT 3rd Annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, UAAMAC MLK, Jr. Breakfast, SWCCD Black History Celebration – “What’s In A Name?” and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council 2nd Annual Labor Day Breakfast.

We continue to participate in the SDUSD and AAAE Blueprint for the Accelerated Success of African American and African Students. The blueprint was adopted this year by the SDUSD board. We are moving forward to make sure our children receive their entitled quality education. Our members have had a presence at SDUSD board meetings as well as community cluster meetings. We have always believed that “Education is A Civil Right” and we will protect that right.

We went to the 42nd Annual Image Awards in Los Angeles and the Del Mar Races, a tradition that was started in the 1970s. We were part of the coalition led by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the 50th Year Celebration of the Freedom Riders with Congressman Bob Filner – D51 keynoting. Congressman Filner is our own local freedom rider, who left college in order to help desegregate the south, and served time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for his participation in making America keep its promise that all citizens are created equal. Congressman Filner participated in virtually every Civil Rights action from 1957 – 1965. We are proud of Congressman Filner, glad to call him one of San Diego’s own and we are indebted to him.

Our annual Membership Appreciation Luncheon, led by Membership Chair Douglas Oden, Esq., was enlightening and informative with our keynote speaker, the Honorable Dwayne Moring, of the San Diego Superior Court Juvenile Division. Judge Moring spoke about “Reclaiming Our Youth” at the Tubman-Chavez Multi-Cultural Center. We kept this event in the community to celebrate our community.

The branch joined with BAPAC SD, EBGBA, NCNW, Inc. SD, ULSDC, NNOA, MLK, Jr. DC, AKA's, Delta's, BPOA, SDBNA and others for the 2nd Annual Juneteenth "Unity in the Community" Celebration at Admiral Baker Park. Our Health Committee Chair, Alice Lee Benjamin, gave blood pressure screenings and followed up with an excellent report of the results to keep us healthy.

Our branch had its full delegation at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention this past July where we voted on the national resolutions and attended workshops that addressed issues of concern. The national NAACP has gave our branch the clarion call to focus in 2012 on voter registration, voter empowerment and voter engagement. Our branch will heed that call in every way possible.

We even had time for some play time with Mo’Olelo Productions with “Stick Fly”, “26 Miles” and the La Jolla Playhouse with “MILK LIKE SUGAR”. We appreciate each of these organizations reaching out to our community and look forward to future collaborations.

Like previous years, none of this would have been accomplished this year without the support of our Executive Committee and Committee Members. I must again say that I am humbled by their support and dedication in volunteering to serve the branch and our community.

We thank Treasurer Ella Sloan, 2nd Vice President Rev. Delores Korokous, and Members at Large Beverly Hudson, Eddie Price, Franklin D. Petersen and Alvin Wilkerson who continue to assist as needed. Third Vice President Philip Liburd, who I consider to be our ambassador, is always ready to be at events as needed at a moment’s notice. Dr. Pat Washington, our Community Coordinator, continues to keep our branch coordinated with other community organizations and events.

Our ACT-SO Co-Chair/Secretary Rachel Arrington, with the assistance of ACT-SO Co-Chair Kimberly Caldwell, represented our branch at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles where we had 3 youths in the ACT-SO competitions.

Tiffany Harrison, President of the College Division, put together the “Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate and Under Educate” forum at SDSU which was well received. Ms. Harrison has been very active in making sure that our students at SDSU and other colleges and universities are involved in our activities.

Education Chair Dr. Andre Branch remains involved with Alexander Graham Bell Middle School where he has an once a month career breakfast with 30 young men to encourage them to pursue higher education.

 Press and Publicity Chair Earl W. Davis, Jr. has been busy covering our events by documenting our events through the lens of his camera.

Political Action Chair and Past President, Petrina M. Branch, Esq., was instrumental in the San Diego City Redistricting with Brian “Barry” Pollard, where each made sure that the 4th District was represented and our interests were protected.

Alonza J. “AJ” Wilson and Eula Cunningham, as Co-Chairs of the Veterans Affairs Committee, have made sure we do not forget those who serve in the military and keep us safe. Under the leadership of AJ Wilson, we will participate in the Veterans Day Parade for the first time as a branch this year.

Douglas A. Oden, Esq., our Immediate Past President, Legal Redress Chair and Membership Chair has taken on the behemoth tasks of increasing our membership, addressing legal issues in the community, putting on the membership luncheon and spearheading the “NAACP San Diego Branch Goes to the Del Mar Races”. We have to be reminded, that the branch is not a law firm and not able to represent individuals on specific cases. However, we will handle complaints that have a pattern of discrimination, have an impact on the community or have racial undertones. Otherwise, we can refer our members to the proper legal resources where they can be assisted.

Dr. Shirley N. Weber, First Vice President and Chair of the Freedom Fund Dinner, remains as one of my most important consultants and who keeps me grounded with her advice and direction. Dr. Weber has guided me and kept the fire burning as I serve as president of this association. Dr. Weber has told me – “You have the right to get tired, but not to give up”.

The 38th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner would not have been successful without the support of and leadership of Myrtle Cole, the United Domestic Workers of America (UDW), supporting unions and our sponsors. Special thanks to LaShae Collins and Jannell Jackson who once again have served as our event planners. We could not have done this event without their service.

I thank the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint for covering our events and supporting our branch. The support of the Voice & Viewpoint and their dedication is much appreciated and has not gone unnoticed.

Thank you all for your continued support. We are only as strong as the support the community gives us. Membership is our life blood and I hope you will consider joining our branch to keep up the fight to protect and advance our civil rights.

Lei-Chala I. Wilson, Esq.
President, NAACP San Diego Branch
Email: sandiegonaacp@earthlink.net
Website: www.sandiegonaacp.org