Remove suspension and do not merge branches of Hudson, Jersey City NAACP calls for national leadership

Members of the NAACP’s Jersey City branch renew their call for the National Civil Rights Organization to lift its suspension, which has been in effect for more than a year.

The effort, which includes a Change.org petition, comes in parallel with members saying the National Office supports the merger of the three branches in Hudson County – Jersey City, Hoboken and Bowen.

“Our friends and supporters desperately need visionary leadership, transparent accountability and strong advocacy in Jersey City government practices and policies,” Pastor Rudy Daniels wrote in a letter to Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO.

“The re-establishment of the Jersey City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People under a new president is a necessary and necessary component for our people to achieve this goal,” continued Daniels, chairman of a group called the Jersey City Branch Rehabilitation and Unification Committee.

The online petition has 441 signatures.

In February 2021, the president of the NAACP branch in Jersey City, Rev. Nathaniel Lagai, abruptly resigned, noting that the episode was suspended until a hearing was canceled.

In a letter dated April 6, Daniels asked Johnson for a reason to suspend the branch. Meanwhile, the debate on cancellation has not yet arrived. A member of the Jersey City NAACP committee said they have approached the state and national branches and are waiting to hear about the steps they will take to reopen.

Fighting for the local branch

Ward F councilor Frank Gilmore says the NAACP is helping.

“It’s something we need, it’s something we want, and I hope we can eventually get our local branch back in good shape with the national,” said Gilmore, a member of the local branch. “It’s something we fought for.”

A month before Legi’s resignation, more than three dozen members of the Jersey City branch filed a complaint with the National Department calling for Legi’s removal, claiming he did not live in Jersey City and that he had violated election laws.

In a February interview with the Associated Press, Johnson, the president of the National Office, reflected on the 113th birthday of the Civil Rights Organization, hoping young Americans would see the NAACP undergo more than-reputation modernization from periods of power struggles over the years.

“We do need to innovate in the sense that we need to put in younger blood, more innovative ideas, people who get along with the community who understand the problems … because it’s one thing to understand the problems, but if you do not understand the dynamics of what’s happening, then we put in Ourselves into trouble as an entity and as a community, “Gilmore said.

William Guzman, former director of the Center for African Studies at Kindergarten in New Jersey City, is content with the notion that the NAACP should strive for “much more than voter registration intentions,” as if it were insignificant – especially with voter rights at stake in much of the state.

“We’ve never been so critical with white liberal organizations,” said Guzman, a member of the Jersey City branch. “All organizations in the U.S. suffer from the same problems, namely lack of money; Two, lack of involvement of companies; And three, lack of resources and the most important resource is not really money, it’s the time. “

The closed branch is located on Martin Luther King Drive, in the Greenville / Bergen-Lafayette district of Jersey City, where most of the county’s African American population has lived for decades in a historic red-line section.

“I think people – well, some of the people – have been in deep denial about what has been going on in this part of the city for years and really, decades,” said Hakim Hassan, a resident and former member of the Jersey City branch.

For Gilmore, the ineffective NAACP speaks to the organization’s leadership.

“You need to have good leadership to lead us,” he said. “If you have problems at home among your family, the solution is not to sell the house. The solution is to have a conversation and a conversation with family members and if there was a need to address and replace leadership.”

Can NAACP remain relevant

Jason M. Williams, an associate professor of law studies at Montclair State University and an adjunct professor of criminal law and sociology at the University of New Jersey City, says the NAACP has lost some luster with the advent of other civil rights organizations.

The NAACP at both the national and local levels does not “seem to have the same energy that newer organizations like Campaign Zero, Black Lives Matter, or even organizations that are at the same level as them, like the ACLU or Anti-Defamation the league has,” Williams said.

“So, in my opinion, to some extent they have become hyper-political, and they are really no longer helpful … at least to the younger generation because when you think of a defense you do not think of the NAACP and separate it is a reluctance to pass the baton to the next generation.”

The NAACP’s original mandate was to help people most affected by inequality, Williams said, and if they do not make the suggestions of the communities in which they are located, places where he has not seen them even do mutual help work. For a long time, he wonders whose they are making an offer.

“To some it’s just this elite institution now that it’s far from the people and it’s doing nothing to them. … Jersey City is one of many,” Williams said. “… the organization, the credibility he has built for himself and the funding he has – could be that he’s doing a pretty revolutionary job, especially given Jersey City and the situation where people are up there on the hill. These … are difficult.”

Will the Hudson branches merge?

As of Friday, 441 people had signed the Change.org petition, which also calls on the National Department to separate Hudson County branches. Officials at NAACP State and National Ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

Guzman, a former NJCU professor, rejects the plan to create a new Hudson unit.

“I think the bigger problem is that there will be a Bayonne NAACP (and the African-American community there is about 11%,” he said. “In Jersey City, the African-American population is about 23%, but there is also an episode … in Hoboken and the community name African American is about 3 to 4%.

“But they still have a chapter there. … We have very different problems as communities. The African-American community in Hoboken will not have the same concerns as the African-American community in Jersey City, Bayon, and so on.

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