San Diego NAACP Fights Back

The San Diego NAACP took action last Thursday night that is certain to generate a strong response from the National NAACP.  On January 6, at its first regularly scheduled General Membership meeting of 2022, the San Diego NAACP voted to approve a motion that would protect the individual members of the San Diego branch from reprisals from the National NAACP, as the San Diego Branch seeks redress from the actions of the national office. This comes after the San Diego Executive Committee, in a closed session that left many members of the organization on hold in the Zoom waiting room for three hours, voted in December not to add the administrator appointed over the branch to the branch bank accounts, as demanded by the National NAACP in a letter to the branch.

The motion came in the form of a resolution which reads in part:

“Whereas,  the  San  Diego  Branch  of  the  NAACP  has  not  been  provided  the  opportunity  to view  the  complaint,  view  the  evidence,  or  an  opportunity  to  submit  evidence  in  rebuttal  to the  complaint  to  a  hearing  panel.    The  San  Diego  Branch  has  been  denied  fundamental due  process.”

“Whereas,  on  July  23,  2021,  despite  the  lack  of  any  evidence  of  wrongdoing  or  any opportunity  for  a  hearing  to  rebut  any  charges,  Alphonso  Braggs  was  allegedly  appointed by  the  National  Board  to  serve  as  an  “administrator.”    The  powers  allegedly  granted  to Alphonso  Braggs,  as  an  administrator,  constitute  an  usurpation  of  the  duly  elected executive  committee,  and  include  the  power  to  veto  any  executive  committee  decisions and  to  become  a  signatory  to  the  San  Diego  Branch  bank  accounts.  The  San  Diego Branch  has  repeatedly  requested,  and  been  denied  the  National  Board  Meeting  Minutes that  effectuated  such  appointment.”

The resolution goes on to suggest that the whole process being used by the National NAACP may be illegal under state laws governing the organization. 

In December of 2021 Francine Maxwell, the NAACP San Diego Branch President, was suspended from the organization by the National Board of Directors just weeks after Alphonso Braggs, the administrator appointed by the National NAACP, announced that the San Diego Branch would be holding new elections early this year. 

Ms. Maxwell’s suspension prevents her from running in the special election unless her membership is reinstated prior to the election. The National NAACP’s hearing process for her reinstatement does not run on a clearly defined timeline and her suspension could last well past the election of new officers for the local branch.

The National Office suspended the previous president in September of 2019, which moved Maxwell to the position of president in accordance with the NAACP Bylaws for Branches. 

In light of the actions by the membership of the local branch it seems likely that the National NAACP will move to suspend the entire branch and take it over, along with its more than $200,000 treasury. 

These actions by the National NAACP are being closely watched by many in the Black, Civil Rights and social justice community in San Diego. Some, including the Racial Justice Coalition, suggest that this is an attack on the broader community of San Diego from people a continent away who have no connection with the local community the agency was created to serve.

“The Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego strongly opposes the decision to suspend Francine Maxwell, NAACP SD Branch President. It is very disturbing to us to see [the] National Office of the NAACP make a decision to do irreparable harm to a local Branch on multiple occasions and for the National Office to not provide the local community with an explanation for these decisions.” 

R. Daniel Hernandez, long time activist in San Diego’s Chicano/Latinx community, sent an email to the National NAACP condemning their actions:

“Because of your national leadership's treatment of the NAACP San Diego Chapter and your suspension of it's leader Francine Maxwell, I CONDEMN YOUR ACTIONS AND DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT OF ONE OF YOUR OWN.”

What comes next is anyone’s guess. But if the National NAACP holds true to form, they will move against the San Diego Branch without providing substantial reasons and without giving the San Diego civil rights community any explanation as to why they are tearing down such a critical legacy civil rights organization after more than 100 years of service to this community. 

They suspended me, Clovis Honoré, when I was president, after a ‘hearing’ whose contents, deliberations and results were never published, and they never stated the reason why. They have suspended President Francine Maxwell and she is likely to face the same lack of due process. 

Again, the community wants answers. As stated by the Racial Justice Coalition:

¨Please also understand that it is very difficult to maintain and build an organization that continues to have Branch Chapters stripped of their elected officers.  This makes our local branches appear to be rudderless and it makes it very difficult to attract new members to their work. A wounded and badly damaged NAACP in San Diego is a black eye for our entire community and your actions provide an unnecessary and very painful form of collective punishment on our entire community.

The National NAACP must be called to account for their actions. As Dr. King said,  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Clovis M. Honoré

Social Justice Editor

Indian Voices Newspaper

Be The Right Person, In The Right Place, At The Right Time, Doing The Right Thing, In The Right Way, For The Right Reason.(Clovis M. Honoré)
"No one is coming to save us but us."  (Rev Eugene Williams)
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)
Clovis M. Honoré
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