*If you haven’t heard, Ben Jealous handed in his resignation as president and CEO of the NAACP. He plans to leave by the end of the year.
Jealous, who was 35 when he was chosen president of the organization, says he plans to pursue teaching at a university and spending time with his young family.
In response, Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network issued the statement below:
“I met the news of the resignation of Ben Jealous as President and CEO of the NAACP with mixed emotions. I am happy that he has done so well and leaves his post with no scandal, shame, or physical challenges, and young enough to have a bright future. There is sadness, however, because for the last several years he has joined Marc Morial, (National Urban League) Melanie Campbell (National Coalition on Black Civic Participation), and me as we tried to broaden the civil rights leadership of the 21st century movement. I have known him since he was a student leader at Columbia University and his first arrest was in the Diallo civil disobedience movement that National Action Network (NAN) and I led in New York to protest the police killing of Amadou Diallo. We worked with him until recently as he joined me and NAN in the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin and helped us as Martin Luther King, III, and I spearheaded the March on Washington 50th Anniversary March to Continue the Dream.
“Ben Jealous has operated with integrity and a real sense of hands-on activism. Not only was he able to revive the NAACP and raise its budget to higher heights, he joined us in the streets in real civil rights activity on the ground. From the ‘suites to the streets’ he will be missed as head of the NAACP but I am sure he will not leave us in his contribution to the struggle.”
*Harvey Weinstein has enlisted the civil rights leader trio comprised of Jesse Jackson (Operation PUSH), NAACP president & CEO Ben Jealous, and National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, Roy Innis, in his fight against Warner Bros. over the use of the title “The Butler.”
The trio released a statement in support of Harvey Weinstein and the Lee Daniels-directed film:
“We are all watching and waiting for the results of today’s arbitration and hoping that Warner Bros. and the MPAA make the right decision on this important movie about civil rights.”
The Weinstein Co.’s lawyer David Boies has been battling Warner Bros to no avail to secure the title for upcoming movie. With “The Butler” opening in just under a month, August 16, Boies has made yet another attempt at the title in an appeal hearing of the MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau.
It’ll be interesting to see if the civil rights trio will have any positive influence in the case that will help Weinstein.
*Legendary actor/singer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte was recognized and honored with the NAACP Spingarn Medal. Each year the civil rights organization acknowledges African Americans who have made strides toward human equality.
In his acceptance speech, Belafonte, 85, condemned gun violence and chastised political leaders for keeping silent so long.
“Where are the outraged voices?” he asked.
He also reflected on his last meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, days before he was killed.
History of Freedom Rides, protests and racial challenges echoed in his speech as he reminded the crowd of the journey still ahead.
“America will never become what it needs to be until we are truly free,” he said.
NAACP president Benjamin Jealous celebrated Belafonte at the Image Awards that took place earlier this month.
“Mr. Belafonte has never been afraid to speak his mind, even when it might have put his career in danger,” Jealous said. “His combination of charisma and courage, artistic talent and intellectual prowess has made him an icon for the ages and a powerful ally for civil and human rights advocates across the globe.”
The actor and activist is the 97th recipient of the medal. Previous honorees include Cicely Tyson, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, and Colin Powell.
The proof is in the numbers, as they say. The Labor Department reports that the black unemployment rate was at 12.7 percent when Pres. Obama initially took office. As the employment rate for the nation dropped below 8 percent, black unemployment increased to 12.9 percent and then to 14 percent for December.
In a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” NAACP CEO and president, Ben Jealous, told the show’s host that black Americans “are doing far worse” than when President Obama first took office. “The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Jealous told show host David Gregory. “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing far worse.”
The most staggering statistic is reported in September 2011, when black unemployment reached 16.7 percent — making it the highest unemployment rate for African-Americans since 1983. The black teens jobless rate was even more staggering at 39.3 percent in July 2012. The NAACP, the National Urban League, and the National Action Network met alongside other organizations for the second time on Friday to discuss a “black agenda” for the president, Politic365 reports. The coalition stated it will urge Pres. Obama to mention an urban jobs plan in his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12.
Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP President was among those who met with President Obama on Friday (11-16-12) regarding the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ crisis
*(Via Black B lue Dog) – Since President Obama was elected with 93% of the black vote, there is now a conversation regarding how to leverage unprecedented political support in order to receive the attention from the Obama Administration that such support deserves. The Associated Press wrote about the matter this week, quoting Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP President Ben Jealous and National Urban League President Marc Morial along the way.
“I think the president heard us loud and clear. The collective message was, ‘Let’s build on where we already are,’” said Rev. Al Sharpton.
Sharpton then continued to speak to the need to “help the black community” by fighting to support President Obama by averting the pending crisis on the fiscal cliff.
Ben Jealous was also quoted, saying the following:
“We need Republicans to think hard and to pull back from the cliff 98 percent of our families, who make up the bulk of this nation, from seeing our taxes being raised,” Jealous said.
Marc Morial took the conversation in a different direction. Rather than simply repeating the agenda of the Obama Administration and pretending that it is the same as the black agenda, Morial actually spoke to the issues that affect the black community directly. He spoke about a jobs plan for urban areas that have been hardest hit by the recession as part of the path to a full economic recovery. While banks, corporations and white Americans have seen their economic condition improve a great deal over the last four years, due to direct capital injections from Washington, black Americans are facing unemployment rates that would be entirely unacceptable for any other group.
In the context of his request for a jobs program, Morial specifically stated that the programs should be implemented “with a special focus on those communities where unemployment is and remains stubbornly and persistently high.”
“We who represent the nation’s urban communities will demand a seat at the table in these discussions,” he also wrote in his letter.
Do you notice the difference in leadership here? The first two men, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous, sound like defacto employees of the Obama Administration, as if they are punching a time clock and picking up a check at the end of the day.
McDonald's 365Black 2011 awardees (l-r): Ruby Dee, Hank Thomas, Mary J. Blige, Ben Jealous & cathy Hughes
*Continuing its long-standing support and connection to the African-American community, McDonald’s recognized a distinguished list of five prominent African-Americans who influence and inspire greatness through outstanding community service at its annual 365Black Awards.
This year’s 365Black Awards was co-hosted by nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner and Academy Award nominated actress Angela Bassett. It was held Friday, July 1 at 12:30 p.m. in New Orleans at the start of the Essence Music Festival weekend.
The 2011 365Black Awards honorees are multi-platinum recording artist Mary J. Blige, Oscar nominated and Grammy Award winning actress Ruby Dee, Radio One network founder Cathy Hughes, NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous, and civil rights activist and McDonald’s owner/operator Henry “Hank” Thomas.
This year’s honorees join an elite group of past award recipients, including Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Marian Wright Edelman, ESSENCE Magazine president Michelle Ebanks, educator Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and NBA legend Alonzo Mourning. Awards show co-host Tom Joyner was one of the first recipients of the 365Black Awards, which exemplify outstanding community service.
“Our 365Black Awards honorees define true leadership in our community, from Ruby Dee’s trail blazing career as an actress to the civil rights crusades led by Hank Thomas; from the media empire created by Cathy Hughes to the leadership that Benjamin Jealous brings to the NAACP, our honorees inspire all Americans to give back in some unique way,” said Neil Golden, Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s USA.
“Through her organization FFAWN, the Foundation for Advancement of Women Now, Mary J. Blige continues to invest in the future of young women and gives them the confidence they need to succeed,” Golden added, noting that McDonald’s is also supporting FFAWN through a charitable contribution of $40,000. (Scroll down to watch the check presentation and the awardees at the news conference for the event.)
The 365Black Awards were launched in 2003 and are an extension of McDonald’s 365Black initiative, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year round. McDonald’s outreach under the 365Black platform includes the web site www.mcdonalds.com/365black, as well as alliances with organizations that provide opportunities for African-Americans to succeed.
“At this year’s 365Black Awards, we celebrate not only our distinguished honorees but all that makes the Crescent City truly amazing — such as the culture, the cuisine and the courage it has taken to rebuild New Orleans,” said Rob Jackson, Director of U.S. Marketing, McDonald’s USA. “The Fleur De Lis has become a popular, multi-cultural symbol of the rich history of New Orleans, just as McDonald’s 365Black Awards symbolize our long-standing support and commitment to the African-American community.”
McDonald’s USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to more than 26 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local business men and women. Customers can now log online for free at any of the 11,000 participating WiFi enabled McDonald’s U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter (@McDonalds) and Facebook (Facebook.com/McDonalds) for updates on our business, promotions and products. #emfjunket11