MS. SYLVIA BARNES
SUSPENDED NC NAACP SECRETARY
CALLS FOR “COME TOGETHER” GATHERING
By Cash Michaels
Ms. Sylvia Barnes, suspended secretary of the NAACP state conference of branches, has issued an email titled “Let’s Come Together” to friends and former colleagues of the NAACP, inviting them to help put together a special event where she "can be heard."
“ I can’t call this an NAACP event because my membership was suspended, Ms. Barnes, 75, wrote last week. “I believe the tragedy that has occurred in my life can be turned into something that will make history and will long be remembered.”
Ms. Barnes was formally suspended as an NAACP member and officer during the Feb. 17th Annual Meeting of the national NAACP Board of Directors, according to a letter she received from national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson March 10, 2023.
The letter said that a hearing was held without Barnes being present, and a recommendation for her suspension was made by NC NAACP Administrator and board member Gloria Sweetlove.
Barnes had been an NAACP member since the age of 14 and secretary of the NC NAACP since 1995.
“We are a strong people with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding God has given us,” Ms. Barnes continued in her missive. “God has a reason for everything. We can have speakers, vendors, singing and a good old fashion time. I need people to help with the planning and advertising. Your suggestions for speakers are welcome. [Former NC NAACP Treasurer] Gerald [Givens] has been traveling across the country giving workshops on police brutality so we can include him. Now is the time for us to know what is happening in your county which will include the good and the bad.”
Givens had also been suspended at the same time that Ms. Barnes was by the board.
“Yes, I have been hurt but let us use the gifts and talent God has given us," Ms. Barnes continued.
At press time, there was no confirmation that an event was indeed scheduled, nor a definite location or time established. In a subsequent email. Ms. Barnes called or a “strong committee” to plan the gathering.
“My goal is not to try and destroy [NC NAACP Pres.Ms. Deborah] Maxwell but to give me the opportunity to be heard," Ms. Barnes wrote in a March 23 email about the purpose of the suggested event.
Clearly the suspension of Ms. Barnes from her membership and office with the NC NAACP has “hurt” her personally, after so many years of service. But what has happened to her also seems to have opened her eyes to a dramatic change in the leadership of the national and state NAACP that several others before her have warned about.
In another open letter Barnes wrote dated March 22, 2023, , and addressed to the Black Press, local media, North Carolina media, national media and various officials of the state and national NAACP titled “Who am I #2 - My Suspension from the Board,” Ms Barnes wrote that the suspension letter from NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson was a ‘lie.”
She reiterated that she was never informed of a suspension hearing because she never requested one. Ms. Barnes then questioned whether the NAACP is true to its founding principles.
“The mission statement of this organization should cease to be read until we are ready to uphold our own mission statement,” she wrote. ‘Branches that must pay assessments to be in compliance should be stopped. Membership drives should cease to be held. Small branches struggle to pay the state assessment of $1,250 per year. Branches are required to pay national (Freedom Fund Assessment) 25% of their net proceeds after all expenses of their events (fund raising) should no longer be in place. 2021 and 2022 National suspended this requirement. The entire national board should be removed and new people elected. Many of them have been there for years and are not interested in what happens but just to say I am a member of the National Board. They are mot handling the business of this organization just going along with whatever is brought before them. That is not fair and equal justice for the people that support this organization. Membership money is the source of this organization and for national, state conferences and local branches, the money they receive from corporate sponsors, churches, fraternities, sororities, unions, partners and others need to stop."
Ms. Barnes continued, "It is my feeling that corporate sponsors still need to support the local branches in their communities that are doing the work of civil rights. I will ask them not to give their money just because they get a letter asking them for an ad and a contribution and their name will be put in the souvenir booklet but support them on the basis of what they do in the communities. The local branches should come first.”
“Over the past 114 years, there have been many marches, rallies, conventions, and regional meetings. People across this country have suffered many disappointments whether in a national election, local election or state election. There have been many disappointments of events and other actions that have happened on the local level.”
Barnes continued, “I want everyone to understand that I love the NAACP and in no way will I ever try and degrade this organization that has been and is still considered the "Biggest, Baddest, Boldest, most feared" organization in this nation, but we need new leadership. I am ready to take off in my car (Baby Blue, 2008 Grand Mercury Marquis with over 400,000+ miles) to leave copies of my story in post offices, community centers, libraries, and other public places so that other people will not have to endure what I have gone through over the last three weeks. I still ask the questions, what have I neglected to do in performing my duties as the state conference secretary, why did [Executive Director] DaQuan [Love], [NC NAACP Pres.] Deborah [Maxwell], and [NC NAACP Administrator Gloria] Sweet-Love ban together, meet secretly and ask for the suspension of my membership?"
“I want to know in writing [what] that means and why I have never been told of anything I have done wrong in this organization,” Ms. Barnes continued. “[NAACP Chairman] Leon Russell, NAACP Pres/CEO] Derrick Johnson, Gloria Sweet-Love, [Co-Administrator] Hazel Dukes, Deborah Maxwell, and the other 62 members of the National Board of the NAACP, please be women and men that will honor the mission of this organization and stand for JUSTICE for all people. Special thanks to my brothers and sisters that resigned their membership on the state executive board last week. This action shows love for others and your willingness to stand for Justice. God bless each of you and those that are COWARDS as well.”
Ms. Barnes ended her letter with, “The only person I have to answer to is the one that sits on His throne, GOD.”
HOUSE REPUBLICANS PASS
ANTI-BLACK HISTORY BILL;
MOVE IT TO NC SENATE
By Cash Michaels
It won’t be long before, once again, Gov. Cooper will have a ratified bill against teaching the racial history of African Americans and other people of color on his desk to sign, as happened in 2021.
And just like two years ago, Cooper will refuse to sign the “conspiracy-laden” measure passed by both the Republican NC House and Senate. In 2021, because the GOP majorities in both the state House and Senate did not have supermajorities, Cooper’s veto was enough to beat back that legislative effort.
This time, however, the Republican-led state House passed House Bill 187 “Equality in Education” 68-49 last week, and have sent it onto the state Senate, where there is little doubt that the Republican majority there will pass it as well.
“…[T]his bill is a covert way to flatten our state’s history into a one-dimensional, easy-to-swallow pill, leaving no room for the triumphs and victories of people who fought hardest for the democracy and society we have today” wrote Democratic Senate Leader Dan Blue (Wake) in an op-ed piece recently.
While the Senate GOP has a supermajority with which to defeat any veto Democratic Gov. Cooper would wield to once again stop a measure that he and Democrats all agree would hide the true racial history of the United States and North Carolina from students, and punish teachers for the alleged “indoctrination” of students about that history, state House Republicans are one vote shy of a supermajority.
As long as every Democrat in the state House stands strong against passage of HB 187, Cooper can veto it with confidence, knowing that it will stick.
And that is the tenuous game of chicken the governor and the Democrats must play in order keep North Carolina from becoming like eighteen other states that have “…already limited how teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom” according to the Associated Press. Nine other states are currently considering similar measures.
Here in North Carolina, Republicans are promoting the anti-Black history bill as one that “promotes” equality because it prohibits “…public school teachers from compelling [white] students to believe they should feel guilty or responsible for past actions committed by people of the same race or sex.”
Democrats are concerned with overly broad language contained in the bill, much of which sounds agreeable, like “Public school units shall not promote that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”
But there is also language in the measure which states that “public school units shall not promote that the United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex,” with is factually and historically correct, most observers agree,
If a North Carolina teacher were to recount the history of slavery in America, for example, she or he would run the risk of running afoul of the law.
In addition, HB 187, if it becomes law, would require public school units to notify the NC Dept. of Instruction 30 days prior to any speakers, consultants or diversity trainers being scheduled to make presentations.
Even though the bill does not state this, Republicans are using passage to assure their supporters that they are outlawing CRT - critical race theory - from being taught in the state’s public schools.
In fact, CRT never was, or is being taught in public schools. Known as the study of how racism has inculcated American institutions throughout the nation’s history, CRT is primarily taught in law schools and on the university level.
But the hasn’t stopped Republicans in waging this politically profitable culture war against the true racial history of this nation.
Thus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ outlawing African American Advance Studies lessons in that state’s secondary classrooms.
And citing DeSantis’ war against “woke indoctrination,” a Florida textbook publisher has removed any mention of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks being a Black woman who defied Alabama segregation laws in the 1950s.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted in a Congressional speech on the House floor last week that the life of Rosa Parks was “too woke’ for the Republican Party. That didn’t stop the GOP-majority U.S. House from passing the federal “Parents Bill of Rights” last Friday, a bill that Republicans say would give parents more say in their children’s education. Democrats say if it becomes law, the bill would allow parents to censor important historical lessons in the classroom.
Back in North Carolina , the Republican-led NC General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations has requested documents detailing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) training throughout the 17 campus UNC System.
The written request wants a review of any subject matter in the DEIA that discusses diversity, equity, racism, anti-racism, oppression, systematic racism, white supremacy, unconscious bias, critical race theory or social justice, among others.
Several published reports note that this is part of a national wave to kill what Republicans call “liberal indoctrination” at the nation’s universities.