BRADLEY CREEK ACTVITY DIRECTOR
FIRED; SAYS SHE’S NOT “THOUGHTLESS”
By Cash Michaels
The Activity Director at Bradley Creek at Carolina Bay who was responsive for a racist Christmas calendar that displayed an old image of a black mammy saying “Merry Christmas,” has been fired after the Wilmington Journal first and exclusively broke the story December 7th.
In an online message sent to this reporter the following evening, Jennifer Dicicco Alaimo, the former Activity Director, wrote, “This is Jenny. At this time I think it best to not say anything.”
Alaimo was responding to a written request by online message from The Wilmington Journal, requesting an interview to get her side of the story as to why she chose what is generally considered a demeaning old racist image to place on a Christmas calendar listing the events for senior residents for the month of December.
That calendar was distributed to residents at Bradley Creek on December 1st and hung on display, until two black staffers saw it, and complained to management about it. The calendars were then taken back from distribution of Monday, Dec. 4th.
“I heard from family members that the residents are upset over my termination,” Ms. Alaimo continued. “I am not ‘thoughtless.’ I will talk to you when things settle down. The residents are my first priority.”
When The Journal acknowledged that not speaking now was her choice, and that it will be respected until such time that she is ready, Ms. Alaimo replied, “Thank you for respecting my wishes and my love for my residents. I’ll be in touch soon.”
Meanwhile, Marvelia Jackson, the medical technician who was so disgusted by the black mammy calendar that she not only complained about it, but took a picture, and gave the evidence to Rev. Kojo Nantambu of the NCNAACP, told The Journal Friday that after she was called by Bradley Creek management Wednesday and told she was, “suspended until further notice” because of “resident complaints,” Ms. Jackson decided that she didn’t want to work in that kind of atmosphere any more.
All of the residents at Bradley Creek are white, as are the administrators, she says, while most of the housekeeping and other staffers are black. Jackson alleged previous racial tensions there, with some black staffers having been either suspended or fired.
Upon learning of her role in helping to expose the mammy calendar, some Journal readers have responded by agreeing that Ms. Jackson should find employment elsewhere. Some even gave recommendations of where she might be able to find work in her specialized field. The Journal passed that information onto her.
After The Journal broke the story Thursday afternoon, Jeff Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Liberty Health Management, Bradley Creek’s parent company, sent a statement to this paper and other media, saying, in part, “The owners, management and administration of Bradley Creek are deeply embarrassed by and sincerely apologize for the use of this image and the pain it has caused. The thoughtless choice by one employee to use this image is not in any way a reflection of this organization’s values or culture.”
In a later statement to other media, Wilson confirmed that the employee responsible had been terminated, and while there was no review process for materials produced to be distributed to Bradley Creek residents prior to December 1st, there is a process now.
Wilson invited The Journal to submit further questions about the incident to him for answers, which it did Friday, asking Mr. Wilson to respond by Tuesday, Dec. 12th for a follow-up story.
On Friday morning, representatives of the state and NHC NAACP held a press conference to denounce the racist calendar, Bradley Creek and its parent company. Deborah Dick Maxwell, president of the NHC NAACP, demanded not only that Ms. Alaimo be fired (that hadn’t happened yet), but her superiors be terminated as well, adding that a complaint should be filed with the EEOC by Ms. Jackson for her questionable indefinite suspension. Ms. Maxwell also assured that the Legal Redress Committee of the NCNAACP was taking a close look at the situation, and promised that the NAACP is not finished with this case yet.