NAACP Culpeper #7058

Also Serving Madison and Rappahannock Counties

Madison Education Forum 7PM Monday, September 26

NAACP Culpeper to Host Education Forum on September 26
Event Open to the Public; To be Held at Madison County High School

Media Inquiries: secretary@naacpculpeper.org
540.948.4092

(9.12.22) The NAACP Culpeper Branch #7058, also representing Madison and Rappahannock counties in Virginia, will host an event entitled “Reaching Every Child: A Community Forum on Education” on Monday, September 26, at 7 pm in the Madison County High School auditorium. NAACP Culpeper is presenting this forum in partnership with the Piedmont Race Amity Project.

The event will feature a panel presentation with noted educators who will address such topics as disparities in educational achievement, closing achievement gaps, why workforce diversity is important, and how school culture impacts student performance. Panelists include

  • Tiffany Ray, Ph.D., Vice President of Student Services and Equity Advancement and Chief Diversity Officer at Germanna Community College
  • Amy Tillerson-Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Mary Baldwin University and Education Committee Chair, Virginia NAACP
  • Kathleen Gentry, Ph.D., Assistant Principal for an inner-city high school and educational advocate for students who are at-risk of dropping out
  • Uzziah A. Harris, DDiv., middle school teacher and President, NAACP Culpeper
  • Laurel Blackmon, Ph.D., educator, equity advocate, and Education Committee Chair, NAACP Culpeper

The event will include a question and answer session with audience members. Community members are encouraged to attend and share questions and concerns.

Live Stream begins at 7 PM 9/26
Can’t attend in person? Watch online

 

The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP was established in 1945 and includes members from Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock counties. The organization’s mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. The national organization was founded in 1909 and has more than 2,200 units and branches across the U.S. For more information, visit www.naacpculpeper.org.

The Piedmont Race Amity Project is devoted to race equity and amity. The organization provides a forum for understanding, collaborating, and acting to advance social justice and unity in partnership with local communities by informing public discourse on race and fostering an entry point and platform for education and healing. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/piedmontraceamity.

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Stay tuned for information about how to stream the forum for those unable to attend in person..

Reaching Every Child

Dear Members of the Madison County School Board

August 1, 2022

To:
Karen Allen <kallen@madisonschools.k12.va.us>
Nita Collier <nitacollier@madisonschools.k12.va.us>
Damon Myers <dmyers@madisonschools.k12.va.us>
Charlie Sheads <csheads@madisonschools.k12.va.us>
Chris Wingate <cwingate@madisonschools.k12.va.us>

Cc:
Anna Graham <agraham@madisonschools.k12.va.us>
Cathy Jones <cjones@madisonschools.k12.va.us>

Dear Members of the Madison County School Board:

First, I believe it is important to state that the NAACP is neither conservative nor liberal, but welcomes all who advocate for social, economic, political, and educational justice.

We often hear about the need to be “colorblind.” This concept sounds promising on the surface; however, in too many instances colorblind means oblivious to the needs and concerns of people of color. Contemporary research in education suggests that the profession has long been geared toward what is termed as the mainstream and has not included much-needed diverse perspectives. We do not wish for a colorblind society but one that sees color and all other manners of diversity—appreciating all with equal concern.

Affirmative action was codified in recognition that despite what America aspired to be, additional measures were needed in order to live out our creed of equality. According to Fortune magazine, fewer than 1% of all Fortune 500 companies have a Black CEO. According to the US Census, Black unemployment is among the highest in the country. On-time graduation rates for Black students are also among the lowest in the country. Median income for Black households is lower than other subgroups while they account for a disproportionately high percentage of the prison population. We can chalk these numbers up to coincidence or even push the blame on others to avoid taking a hard look at the systemic realities that still exist in our country. Ignorance however, won’t make inequities any less true. Persons who believe that our country is now free of racist policies are indeed colorblind in the worst sense of the term.

Mr. Wingate is confident that school leadership will rightly fire any school employee practicing discrimination but what about board members who so flippantly practice discrimination, whether removing the perspective of people of color from textbooks or refusing to acknowledge the rights of children regarding sexual orientation and identity? How do we appropriately respond when incidents of racism show up on buses and in classrooms? This is precisely why equity education and true diversity are needed.

Students are best educated one individual at a time; we should ensure a holistic aggressive and effective fight against all bullying and encourage good citizenship…” Penned by Mr. Wingate, these are the tenets of social and emotional learning; instruction that has been proven to increase both the self-efficacy and academic achievement of students. Core to SEL is the premise that we must understand our differences and respect others’ differences in order to learn to coexist in a healthy manner with our differences.

Because of the misinformation surrounding this topic, the Culpeper NAACP is planning an open forum on education to be held in the next several weeks. We will offer a panel of noted educators to answer questions relating to diversity and equity in education. Please plan to attend this forum and ask all of your hard questions. We all care about our schools; let’s work together.

Sincerely,
Dr. Uzziah Harris
President, NAACP Culpeper

2022 Freedom Fund Banquet

 

Our 2022 Freedom Fund Banquet, themed Holding on to Truth and Sharing Our Stories: Past, Present, and Future, and featuring keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Milton L. Branch, Sr., will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at noon in Culpeper (further details in PDF, below).

For more information and to purchase tickets/sponsorships/advertising, please visit our event page at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2022ff.

Alternatively, you may download, print and mail a paper form:

Download (PDF)

The Fourteenth Amendment

Today is the anniversary of the day in 1868 that Americans changed the U.S. Constitution for the fourteenth time, giving the federal government power to guarantee that state governments could not pass laws that treated some people worse than others.

The background to this constitutional amendment was that in the wake of the Civil War, former Confederates in the southern states had done their best to force their Black neighbors back into subservience. Through a series of laws known collectively as the “Black Codes,” state legislators in summer 1865 regulated how Black Americans worked, lived, worshiped, and conducted themselves, without any recourse to the law for protection when they were robbed, assaulted, raped, and killed.

The Black Codes, sometimes called Black Laws, were laws governing the conduct of African Americans (free and freed blacks). In 1832, James Kent wrote that “in most of the United States, there is a distinction in respect to political privileges, between free white persons and free colored persons of African blood; and in no part of the country do the latter, in point of fact, participate equally with the whites, in the exercise of civil and political rights.”[1] Although Black Codes existed before the Civil War and many Northern states had them, it was the Southern U.S. states that codified such laws in everyday practice. The best known of them were passed in 1865 and 1866 by Southern states, after the American Civil War, in order to restrict African Americans’ freedom, and to compel them to work for low or no wages.

But there was no way northern members of Congress were going to permit southern lawmakers, who only months before had been shooting at U.S. soldiers, to discriminate against the very men who had fought to save the United States.

Their solution was the Fourteenth Amendment.

The amendment overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that, in addition to declaring that Black men were not citizens and did not have the rights of citizens, declared that democracy was created at the state level by those people in a state who were allowed to vote. In 1857, this meant white men, almost exclusively. If those people voted to do something widely unpopular—like adopting human enslavement, for example—they had the right to do so. People like Abraham Lincoln pointed out that such state power would eventually mean that an unpopular minority could take over the national government, forcing their ideas on everyone else, but defenders of states’ rights stood firm.

And so, the Fourteenth Amendment gave the federal government the power to protect individuals even if their state legislatures had passed discriminatory laws. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” it said. And then it went on to say that “Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

But the amendment had to be ratified. In the midterm elections of 1866, the driving issue was the election of state legislators who would either pass or reject the Fourteenth Amendment. President Andrew Johnson, who had stepped into the presidency when an actor had murdered President Abraham Lincoln the year before, stood against the amendment and backed throwing power to the state legislatures. His support gave southern terrorists the confidence to attack formerly enslaved people not only in private, but also in deadly public riots that killed as many as 1000 people before the election.

For their part, the Republicans who wanted federal protection of equal rights also turned to the people but appealed to voters’ commitment to the principle of equality before the law. Senator James G. Blaine, Republican of Maine, later recalled, “The one…point…echoed and re-echoed by every speaker…was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was evidently the unalterable determination of the Republicans to make that the leading feature of the campaign…to urge it though the press, to present it on the stump, to proclaim it through every authorized exponent of public opinion.”

Voters sided with the Republicans and the Fourteenth Amendment by a landslide against Johnson and the Black Codes. The Republicans won 143 representatives to Congress to the Democrats’ 49. The Republicans maintained similar control over the state houses.

“The importance…of the political struggle of 1866 cannot be overestimated,” Blaine recalled. “If the contest had ended [differently] the history of the subsequent years would…have been radically different. There would have been no further amendment to the Constitution,” and southern legislators would “sustain all the State laws already passed for the practical re-enslavement” of Black Americans, “with such additional enactments as would have made them cruelly effective…. [T]he result must have been a deplorable degradation of the National character and an ignoble surrender to the enemies of the Union,” who would then direct the government.

The state legislatures ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and added it to the Constitution in 1868, and in 1870 the federal government set out to enforce national equality before the law with the creation of the Department of Justice, whose first job was to bring down the Ku Klux Klan terrorists in the South who were assaulting and murdering their Black neighbors.

In the post–World War II era, the federal government again used the Fourteenth Amendment to protect citizens against discrimination at the state level when the Supreme Court began to use the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment aggressively to apply the protections in the Bill of Rights to the states. The civil rights decisions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in public schools and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, come from this doctrine. Under it, the federal government took up the mantle of protecting the rights of individual Americans in the states from the whims of state legislatures.

Opponents of these new civil rights protections quickly began to object that such decisions were “legislating from the bench,” rather than permitting state legislatures to make their own laws. They began to call for “originalism,” the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted only as the Framers had intended when they wrote it, an argument that focused on the creation of law at the state level. That theory is now dominant in the Supreme Court. Two weeks ago, on June 24, 2022, it rejected the federal government’s power to protect civil rights in the states, and more than a dozen state legislatures have rushed to outlaw abortion procedures.

Yesterday, Biden reached for the power embodied by the Fourteenth Amendment for the federal government to overrule state laws discriminating against citizens within their borders. But he also echoed the electoral fight to put that amendment in place when he told Americans: “We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law. Your vote can make that a reality. I know it’s frustrating, and it made a lot of people very angry. But the truth is this…. [The] women of America can determine the outcome of this issue.”

Source: July 8, 2022 – by Heather Cox Richardson (substack.com)

NAACP Statement on the Madison County, Virginia School Board

 

 

NAACP Statement on the Madison County, Virginia, School Board

Media Inquiries: secretary@naacpculpeper.org

 

(7.6.22) The NAACP Culpeper Branch #7058, also representing Madison and Rappahannock counties in Virginia, has long prioritized education in our mission to achieve equality and eliminate race-based prejudice. We regularly partner with local schools to provide scholarships and educational resources for students and teachers.

Since February, when the Madison County School Board held its 2022 annual retreat, we have become increasingly concerned with statements and actions by members of the school board. In particular, we note:

  • Recent analysis shows that Black students in Madison County have consistently performed at lower levels than their white peers in reading, writing, and math; and graduated at a lower rate.¹ There have also been numerous incidences of students using racist language and engaging in racially motivated incidents on school buses, in classrooms, and on sports fields. However, at the April school board meeting, board member Charlie Sheads blamed parents for achievement disparities and erroneously stated that “the mission of Black Lives Matter is to destroy the nuclear family.” Members of the school board have repeatedly demonstrated a willful ignorance of history that has deprived many Black Americans of equal opportunities and contributed to disparities in education, including practices and cultural biases that persist to this day.
  • At the February 5th school board retreat, board member Christopher Wingate stated his concern about the school system’s goal of hiring a more diverse workforce, including African American teachers. Appallingly, he expressed caution that this should not hinder the system’s “pursuit of excellence.” Mr. Wingate also stated at the school board retreat that “with equity, there’s a focus on race, and of course we shouldn’t focus on race.”
  • The school board recently proposed extremist policy revisions designed to prevent students in need of affirmation and support, including LGBTQ students and those with abusive or dysfunctional family situations, from receiving counseling and resources. This would potentially endanger students and eliminate the “safety net” and privacy protections that many of our students desperately need. The policies demonstrate a clear mistrust of our educational and counseling workforce.
  • In June, despite protests from educators, parents, and community members, the school board voted to ban several texts from the high school curriculum, including a speech on the Vietnam War by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and an acclaimed letter written by James Baldwin. Board member Christopher Wingate stated that the works did not reflect a “love of country” and patriotism. We would like to address this specifically by quoting Dr. King in 1967:

“Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. There can be no great disappointment where there is no great love.”

The NAACP Culpeper Branch calls upon the Madison County School Board to become more educated about racial and LGBTQ intolerance in our community, our schools, and our nation’s history and to support the efforts of the MCPS administration by:

  • Focusing on creating a safe environment for all students where racism and bigotry are not tolerated, rather than creating undue and unwarranted restrictions on our professional educators and limiting resources for our students.
  • Upholding the language and the true spirit of the board’s 2020 Equity Statement and continuing the work of the Equity Task Force.
  • Committing to closing the school system’s achievement gap and addressing disparities in school discipline, and to teaching accurate and complete history including diverse and competing perspectives that will encourage critical thinking and empower students to succeed.

“No one should have to prove to you that racism exists. If you don’t see it, it’s because you choose not to. And that’s cruel and tragic.”

– Bernice King, CEO, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

 

¹ Virginia Department of Education

 

 

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Uzziah Harris
President
NAACP Culpeper Branch #7058

NAACP Scholarship Application

The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP will award a $500 scholarship to a graduating high school senior who lives in Culpeper, Madison, or Rappahannock counties. Scholarships are available for applicants who will attend accredited trade, vocational, and technical schools; community colleges; or four-year colleges and universities. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must have a minimum 2.5 grade average.

Applications must be received no later than April 1, 2022. Please submit to your guidance office or mail (postmarked by April 1) to: NAACP Culpeper, P.O. Box 687, Culpeper, VA, 22701.

Download (DOCX)

NAACP Essay Contest

Winners will be recognized in local media and at the March NAACP meeting, receive gift certificates up to $200, and be invited to attend a special field trip to the NMAAHC in Washington DC.

Email submissions by February 28, 2022, to education@naacpculpeper.org

NAACP Essay Contest

We’re with the King family: No Celebration Without Legislation

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we are heeding the call of MLK’s family: no celebration without legislation. That means the best way to honor his legacy is by taking action for voting rights.

Right now, essential voting rights legislation is pending in the United States Senate, and the entire Republican Party, with the help of two conservative Democrats, is blocking it. This isn’t new – Rev. Dr. King himself talked about this dynamic in his lifetime. His family has asked all of our help in making sure this quote is spread far and wide today, so please share it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or forward the link to this page to a few friends.

Dr. King is right: It is a tragedy, but it’s one that we can address if we unite. This weekend, activists nationwide have been hosting events encouraging Senators to fix or ditch the filibuster and ensure we pass this voting rights legislation. Some of those events are still ongoing – you can check here to see if there’s one near you.

Speaking of Senators Manchin and Sinema, the two Democrats holding this bill up… History has its eyes on them, and it is not going to reflect favorably on them if they don’t find the fortitude to do the right thing. Here’s how Martin Luther King III put it this week:

We’d expected a vote today on changing Senate filibuster rules to allow democracy reform to go forward, but because of a positive COVID test and a winter storm in DC, the debate won’t start until tomorrow, and the vote will happen later this week. That means we need to keep up the pressure over the next few days, and we’ll be reaching out with updates soon.

Onward for democracy!

Living Out The Legacy, The Day After The Dream…MLK 2022

This year’s theme is “Living Out the Legacy After the Dream.” Speakers include the Rev. Dr. Owen Cardwell, pastor of the Diamond Hill Baptist Church in Lynchburg and the Rosel Schewel Distinguished Chair for Education at the University of Lynchburg. Dr. Cardwell was one of the first students to integrate E.C. Glass High School in 1962.

Also sharing remarks will be Culpeper Mayor Frank Reaves, Jr., NAACP Life Member John Doyle, and Dr. Laurel Blackmon, chair of the NAACP Culpeper Education Committee.

The presentation will air at 1:00 PM on Monday, January 17.

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