On 100th Anniversary, NAACP Challenges First Black President
sonny | 2/11/2009, 10:47 a.m.
''We€re not simply interested in a bail out for Main Street. It€s a good starting point, but we want a fix for back street,'' said Jealous in a telephone press conference leading up to Feb. 12, the 100th birthday of the nation€s oldest civil rights organization. ''At the end of the day, we are not an organization who€s here merely to celebrate any milestone too much. We€re out there with everybody else trying to make sure that [Obama€s] agenda is our agenda, that his agenda is one of civil rights and inclusion and opportunity for all. And right now there are two things that we€re concerned are not getting sufficient attention.€
The first issue that he listed was the need for federal enforcement of Black participation in jobs and contracts coming out of the $827 billion economic stimulus act, that has passed the House and is being negotiated in the U.S. Senate this week.
€White unemployment [stats], since they€ve been calculated since 1940, have never gotten into double digits. Yet somehow this country finds it tolerable and somewhat normal to have Black unemployment in the double digits,€ Jealous said.
The second issue is the need for law enforcement accountability - federal oversight and enforcement of police profiling and misconduct, which former President George Bush promised, but never delivered in 2001.
€We€re lifting this up and placing it squarely in front of the administration and we€ll be pushing harder now that we know who the attorney general is,€ Jealous said, referring to Eric Holder. €We need to see the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act passed. We also need to see real reforms in police officer use of force and training.€
Jealous said the NAACP has local affiliates dealing with high profile police killings in at least a half dozen states.
Jealous said he would release specific policy proposals in a €White Paper,€ an authoritative report or guide that outlines problems and suggests ways to solve them from expert perspective.
Jealous said proposals in the White Paper would include:
- The Department of Labor increase staffing in their solicitors office that handle discrimination. Also that they increase staffing in the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs so that as the stimulus dollars flow through, there won€t be the same tattered infrastructure left by the Bush administration €and we won€t see a repeat of the sloppiness that we saw in Iraq and that we saw in New Orleans.€
- That the Justice Department€s Civil Rights Division be rebuilt to enforce a wide spectrum of civil rights laws.
- That every stimulus-created job that is awarded to a general contractor or to sub-contractors be contracted through the federal employment service so that federal authorities will monitor who gets the jobs. €We need to send a clear message that tax payer dollars should create jobs for everybody. We don€t want people discriminated against based on age, gender, race or anything else,€ Jealous said.
- Greater oversight for banks, brokers and a major investment in public education €because we€re tired of Black people with good credit and assets being fleeced. We want them protected.€