Statement of the President of the NAACP San Diego Branch Regarding the Mass Murder at a Pittsburgh Synagogue

[email protected]

27 October 2018

The NAACP San Diego Branch condemns in the strongest terms the violent acts of this morning which took the lives of 11 worshipers and injured multiple other individuals. We pray that God would comfort the families of these innocent victims of yet another senseless, vicious act of gun violence in the United States of America.

This vicious assault was the most lethal attack on Jews in the history of the United States of America. The realities of this day are heartbreaking, to say the least.  People of all faiths, races, and ethnicities cannot but be shocked, horrified, incensed and saddened at once in the face of this slaughter of innocent life.  Racism and hate must be condemned regardless of the identities of the perpetrators or victims.

Responding to killing with more killing is not the answer. The death penalty is not the answer to gun violence.  Sweeping gun law legislation is what is needed now.

We call on the President of the United States to cease and desist from his hate speech—period.

In plain and simple language, we call on the Houses of Congress in the United States to take decisive, unified action to enact legislation that would help to prevent these acts of carnage on unsuspecting, innocent victims in our country. No private citizen should be able to purchase an AR-15 assault rifle. AR-15 assault rifles are weapons of war. As a first step, Congress should take the reasonable action of requiring thorough background checks—including, but not limited to, social media sites—as a minimum requirement for the purchase of firearms of any kind, at venue where firearms are sold. Moreover, there should be a waiting period of at least three business days before a firearm can be delivered to a buyer. We call on the Houses of Congress to move swiftly on this legislation on the first day that they are back in session in order to stop the proliferation of guns and gun violence in the United States of America.

André J. Branch, Ph.D.
NAACP San Diego Branch

The ACT-SO Judges for 2018-2019

These fine folks have signed up to judge for ACT-SO this season. We need more judges!  If you have skills to contribute, please don’t keep them to yourself; our kids need you.

Ryn Corbeil
– Judge – Poetry –

Ryn Corbeil is making the jump from an Engineering career to Poetry. He likes to refer to this as “going over to the light side.”

    Vera Sanchez
    – Judge – Poetry, Essay –

    Vera Sanchez is an adjunct professor of English at Grossmont College, and a Social Work Counselor for the San Diego Regional Center.

      Darwin Fishman
      – Judge – Essay –

        Tomás Gayton
        – Judge – Poetry –

        Tomás Gayton is a retired Civil Rights attorney and poet. His latest volume is “Jazz Heaven,” a volume of Jazz Poetry.

          Earl Vaults
          – Judge – Music –

          Earl Vaults graduated from SDSU with a BA in music. He studied the saxophone with Harvey Pittel from USC, a world renowned classical saxophonist. He’s played with R&B group The …

            Dr André J. Branch
            – Judge – Essay, Poetry –

            Beside being President of the NAACP San Diego, Dr Branch is a professor of Education at San Diego State University, and holds a degree in English and a PhD in …

              Quis Colion
              – Judge – Music, Poetry –

              Quis Colion, 35, is a Black artist, Black poet and Black entrepreneur. He is a United States Air Force veteran. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in audio production from …

                ACT-SO Visits Black Xpression!

                The ACT-SO crew when to visit Black Xpression!, the Friday night performance event featuring open mic performances by African-Americans.  Then of us went, including a member of the committee, one of our judges, several students and their parents.

                We look forward to many more ACT-SO outings in the coming months, include a movie night, a tour of the Salk Institute, a lecture/demonstration on neuroscience, and much more.

                ACT-SO is the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Scientific, Technological and Scientific Olympics for African-American high school students.  If you have talent and want to show it off, sign up with us today!  Or, if you would like to see African-American students succeed, sign up to help out.

                Watch: NAACP Vice President Honoré Urges Contracts Equity

                You may remember that in September we took the City of San Diego to task for its shocking record of contracting with people of color, as revealed in the CAPER report to HUD.  We were back at the City Council on October 23rd on a fresh contracting issue.

                The City of San Diego gives very nearly all of its construction business to firms owned by white men, firms that often do not even employ significant numbers of African-Americans and other ethnicities. The NAACP San Diego tried to delay the awarding of this $100M water and wastewater contract until the firms involved could be queried on their inclusion plans.

                Our voice was joined by Brother Hameed of the National Black Contractor’s Association:

                Councilmember Alvarez even read part of our letter to urge adoption of one of its provisions:

                In the end, we were unsuccessful in achieving a delay:

                However, City Engineer James Nagelvoort is facilitating a meeting between the NAACP, the Black Contractor’s Association, the National Association of Minority Contractors, and the five firms in question.  We hope the talks are productive.

                We could be more active in these areas of labor and economic equity if NAACP members with relevant expertise and passion would come out to work on our Labor and Economic Development committees.  Please come to our General Membership Meeting on November 2nd, or write us at [email protected] and volunteer to help us with this important work!

                Full text of our letter to the Council follows:

                2018-10-22 K-17-1518-MAC-3 NAACP Letter to Council (dragged)
                2018-10-22 K-17-1518-MAC-3 NAACP Letter to Council (dragged)


                Nominating Committee Slate Unchallenged

                At our previous General Membership Meeting (October 4th), we received the report of the nominating committee:

                Nominating Committee Report 2018

                Members: Samantha Jenkins, Committee Chair
                Renita Payno, Committee Secretary
                Clovis Honoré, sitting Branch 1st Vice President
                Sherry Strothers, Armed Services Chair
                Kamaria Allen, Branch Member

                Meeting Dates: September 8, 2018 at 10 a.m. (Malcolm X Library)
                September 12, 2018 at 6 p.m. (Starbucks Spring Valley)
                September 18, 2018 at 6 p.m. (Allen Household)

                The committee received the Branch roster from the Branch Secretary as is the practice for this process. Additionally, we received suggestions from branch leadership regarding members that could be considered for the slate. The committee took these recommendations under advisement and proceeded to develop a roster of candidates for both Officer and At-Large positions. The list was divided among members who then contacted their prospects. Some prospects declined their nomination citing existing personal demands and years of prior service from which they needed respite. The committee proceeded to select alternate candidates and approach them to determine their interest. Following the acceptance of individual nominations, consent forms were sent and received by the original points of contact within the committee. This resulted in the following slate of candidates:


                2019 San Diego Branch Election Slate


                President- Clovis Honoré
                1st Vice President – Francine Maxwell
                2nd Vice President – Steve Dorner
                Secretary – Renita Payno
                Asst. Secretary – Diane Langworthy
                Treasurer – Darryl Stovall
                Asst. Treasurer – Wanda Rogers

                At Large Members:

                Tenace Jenkins

                Petrina Branch

                Sherry Strothers

                Franklin Peterson

                Kenya Taylor

                Barbara Binns

                Carol Wiggins

                Phillip Liburd

                Genevieve Jones-Wright

                Khalada Salaam-Alaji

                There were no successful nominations of challengers to the candidates.  We will hold the official election at our November 2nd meeting.

                Mi Barrio Through the Years

                by Veracruz Sanchez

                Word of mouth spread quickly that a group of white supremacists planned to defaced the murals at Chicano Park because they were frantic that their Confederate statues were threatened to be removed throughout the U.S., and this was their proper recourse of action. The nationalist caused chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia causing a riot, killing a lady, and injuring other people of color who resisted injustice. The neo-Nazis attempted to create the same absurdity in Logan Heights, mi barrio.

                The summer of 2012, Nayeli, Monse, and I painted a mural as part of the Chicano Park restoration project. We participated with the older women, who were the original muralists back when the city of San Diego scheduled to build a police station on our land. On April 22nd, 1970, the community of Logan Heights united to fight for a park, digging holes to plant trees, blocking bulldozers, and forming human chains. My uncles and father were protesters, a responsibility of activism they now passed on to me. The day the white supremacist strategized to eradicate the park they, too, were met with the same people, as well as the newer generation who raised against oppression. Nayeli, born in Michoacán and majoring as an engineer at UCSD, wore her custom-made indigenous jewelry; Monse, born in Mexico City and served in the U.S. Navy, wore her Mexican embroidered blouse; and me, la pocha, wore a t-shirt that read Desde La Logan in old English lettering, each with our own unique barrio style. We met at Salud, a new tacos spot that used to be the old Porkyland, and then we walked a few blocks to our destination. Most of the local businesses were replaced with businesses that generated more revenue geared towards modernization. The only thing that still remained authentic was Chicano Park. Police officers were in full force, and the Chicano Park Steering Committee wrote a letter as a reminder to stand in solidarity and not display any form of violent acts. Over 500 people came together to protect the murals, forming a circle around each one. A native man blew on his ocean shell that warned us the group had arrived. We quickly took our stance, fist in the air, like an army ready for battle. Nayeli, Monse, and I guarded our mural, Women Hold up Half the Sky, along with a group of Pachucos who traveled from Los Angeles to support the cause. There were different forms of Mexicans: the Pachucos, the rastas with dreads, the Zapatistas, the bikers, the homies in lowriders, the natives, and the Brown Berets.

                “Get out of our park!”
                “We will fight back!”
                “We are here to protect our indigenous land!”
                “Afuera! Afuera! Leave! Leave!”

                Flags from Latin American countries soared high. The group was confronted by power and resistance. On September 3rd, 2017, racism did not win. The blue line shield the nationalist for protection and eventually escorted them off the premises, the crowd cheering in victory as they left. My uncles’ song playing from the quiosco, “We shall continue to live my brother. We shall continue to fight my friend. For Chicano Park. Under the bridge.” The day we stood up to white supremacists, Trump put a halt to DACA recipients, and I realized the fight wasn’t over. Nayeli was in the process of becoming a citizen through DACA. Her son was a US citizen, and I was torn that if she was removed from the only country she knew, where would her son go? Walking back to my car after the event settled down, I had parked across the street from my old bus stop, which was in front of a two- story white house, the same bus stop where I waited each morning. Since the house I grew up in was only a block away, I cruised down memory lane. The house on Julian Ave was no longer brown and yellow but blue with an American flag and Rottweiler guarding the property. An old man slowly approached the screen door when he noticed me loitering outside his property.

                “Can I help you?”
                “I grew up in this house.”
                He thought for a minute, “You’re Maria’s daughter.”

                “Yes. She’s my mother.” I explained that I was at the park for the protest and decided to come revisit my old house since I was in the neighborhood. I asked about childhood friends. They all moved out of Logan and up north starting their families, working their typical 9-5 jobs. Jaime was working for the city, and his brother, Chonie, was a deputy. Their mother, my nina, moved to Murrieta. The house, for the most part, was what I remembered, the porch paint still chipped, paradise flowers in the yard, an apricot tree, and the driveway where I dribble my basketball. I pondered about growing up in Logan Heights over the years. Some good, some bad. Although the neighborhood was different in some aspects, the people were still willing to protect their land even if they moved miles away. As I stood outside my old house on Julian Ave, I was reminded that the little girl in me, once lost, found her way back home.

                NAACP San Diego Freedom Fund Dinner 2018

                “Our Voices, Our Engagement, Our Votes Matter!” was the theme of our annual Freedom Fund Dinner on October 12, 2018 at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa.  Dr. Helen Griffith, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of e3 Civic High served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Consistent with the theme of the dinner, Dr.  Andre´ Branch, president of the San Diego NAACP reminded all those gathered of the critical importance of voting on November 6, 2018.

                There were outstanding performances by saxophonist Erisa Nicole, pianist Gloria Daviston and drummers of Extreme Rahim Entertainment.  Jor’Denay Collier, San Diego ACT-SO gold medalist, performed her award winning poem, “Mr.  Drugdealer.”  The 9th and 10th Cavalry Association, San Diego Chapter Buffalo Soldiers, led the presentation of colors ceremony.

                The San Diego NAACP honored four students for their outstanding academic accomplishments.  The students were Yosief Abraham (Hoover High School), Amy Amoah (Eastlake High School), Jor’Denay Collier (Eastlake High School), and Angel Rios (Lincoln High School).

                Dr. Branch presented a President’s Award to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his service and leadership.  Attorney General Becerra has decades of experience serving the people of California through appointed and elected office, where he has fought for working families, the vitality of the Social Security and Medicare programs and issues to combat poverty among the working poor.

                The San Diego NAACP honored three individuals for their community service.  Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, Vice President, State Governmental Affairs and External Affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company is an active member of the community.  He currently serves on the board of directors of the San Diego Museum of Art, the Voice of San Diego and the California Asian Chamber of Commerce.  Rebecca Paida is the Senior Program Manager for Nile Sisters Development Initiative.  The mission of that organization is to educate, support and offer training to refugee and immigrant women and their families to help them overcome barriers to social and economic self-reliance.  Ms. Paida is a former refugee who is intimately aware of the health disparities as well as the social and economic challenges people face when relocating to a new community.  Eric Rivera, Vice President for Student Affairs at San Diego State University has dedicated his life to advancing access, student success and achievement for all students in higher education.  Under his leadership the division significantly expanded learning communities and student support centers such as the Black Resource Center, Commuter Resource Center and the Women’s Resource Center.

                The San Diego NAACP honored four organizations for their community service.  The California Innocence Project (CIP) is a law school clinic, founded in 1999 at California Western School of Law, dedicated to freeing the innocent, training law students and changing laws and policies in the state of California.  Since its inception, CIP has freed 30 people from prison who have served more than 340 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.  The San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild provides a forum for the continuation of the tradition of quilting as an art and a method of recording history and storytelling.  They donate baby quilts to military families.  They donate quilts to community members who are ill.  Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Mu Sigma Zeta Chapter provides scholarships to youth in the San Diego community.   Its signature event held in April is “Zeta to a Tea, Military Women Rock!”  The event honors women who have or are serving our country in the military.  Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Omicron Iota Sigma Chapter serves the community though activities that include providing scholarships, contributing to organized charities and promoting voter education and voter registration.

                The San Diego NAACP holds its general membership meetings on the first Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm in the Community Room of the Jacobs Center located at 404 Euclid Avenue, San Diego.  The meetings are open to the public.

                Here are photographs of attendees and honorees and performances from the dinner:

                The Union Tribune covered the dinner:

                San Diego NAACP honors service at Freedom Fund Dinner

                The San Diego NAACP held its Freedom Fund gala dinner.

                And this was the event program:

                NAACP 2018 Booklet 10.5.18

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                Statement from NAACP President, André J. Branch, regarding the e-Blast and “Apology” from Ms. Donna Tripi, Principal of La Jolla Elementary School

                In September, Ms. Donna Tripi, Principal of La Jolla Elementary School, sent an e-mail Blast in which she warned parents to be “vigilant” regarding a man thought to be an “African American male.”  On Monday of this week Ms. Tripi issued an apology. The apology is as disturbing as the original e-mail message.

                She repeats the description of “the Man,” mentioning his race, but not that of the parents, the children, or her race.  This repetition reinforces the idea that these parents, their children, and all who read the communication have something to fear from African American males.

                The passive voice used in the “apology” conveys the writer’s unwillingness to take full responsibility for perpetuating racist stereotypes about African American males.  One wonders what she is apologizing for when she writes, “I spoke to the parents directly and am confident the concern they described was not imagined.”  What concern did they describe?  That they were uncomfortable being in the presence of African American men?  This self described “leader” issues an apology in which she reiterates that, “We want parents to be vigilant, . . . .”  A so called “apology” in which one reiterates the need for vigilance (“watching for possible danger”) in the presence of African American males, and in the context of an event in which the subject is supposedly an African American male, is no apology at all.  It is continued race baiting.

                Ms. Tripi says clearly in her original e-Blast from La Jolla Elementary School that “nothing happened due to the vigilance of the parent, . . . .”  This outrageous assumption that there was some danger that this parent had to fear is what deserves an authentic apology.  The fourth bullet in the e-Blast from La Jolla Elementary School is especially disturbing:  “If you see something that doesn’t feel right, report it to the non-emergency police line . . . .”  Ms. Tripi should understand that with this direction, she is contributing to countless more individuals not feeling right in the presence of African American males.  Moreover, she can be assured that many more innocent African American males and females will have unpleasant encounters with police officers inquiring about their innocent, lawful behaviors because someone was uncomfortable with them just living their lives.

                We continue to be disturbed by the last line of the e-Blast from La Jolla Elementary School:  “We’re all hoping it was an isolated incident, but reminders are always helpful.”  AN ISOLATED INCIDENT OF WHAT?  Seeing an African American male?  We can assure Ms. Tripi that she and her constituents will see many more African American males—and they may be wearing hoodies—and Ms. Tripi and all readers of her communications have no more to fear from African American males than they do from white males in hoodies—or suits and ties.