Infighting, allegations of misconduct and suspension of local members by the national office has the Greater Bridgeport chapter of the NAACP trying to rediscover itself in a leadership gulf. Interesting read from the editorial board of the Connecticut Post:
The history books tell us that the African-American civil rights movement ended in 1968 with passage of the Fair Housing Act, a vital and shamefully late piece of legislation that followed the 1965 Voting Rights Acts and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Despite these long-ago advancements, the struggle of equal rights and equal opportunity is by no means over. Inner-city blacks continue to face a mountain that’s nearly as insurmountable as it was in the 1950s, particularly in Connecticut. Consider:
The state has a built-in and legally binding system of racially segregated schools in the name of “home rule.” This almost comically inefficient system of government effectively prevents children from the Hartfords and Bridgeports of Connecticut from attending schools in towns like Easton and Monroe, and vice-versa.
Inner-city children suffer greatly on a number of fronts, and one that’s becoming more and more of an impediment for them is a lack of access to technology. While their wealthy counterparts in suburbia have computers and printers in the home, inner-city kids have to jump through a number of hoops just to write a term paper. How can they be expected to succeed in college?
According to the Sentencing Project’s website, the rate of incarceration for white Connecticut residents in 2005 was 211 per 100,000 people; for black residents it was 2,532 per 100,000. This ratio is a good deal worse than the nationwide figure of 412 for whites and 2,290 for blacks.
We could go on. Sadly, African-Americans in greater Bridgeport have lost their voice. It’s been years since the region has had an effective NAACP chapter. The recent high-profile cases of unprosecuted police brutality notwithstanding, a forceful NAACP chapter is desperately needed here.
Perhaps the solution might be to expand the chapter’s footprint to include Stamford and even New Haven. Another way to achieve this goal might be to make a serious effort to recruit members from suburban towns. Meanwhile, businesses in the region, both large and small, would be wise to get behind this effort, for lifting the people of the inner city will benefit everyone. The Connecticut NAACP convention would be wise to encourage the creation of a regional chapter in the southwestern part of the state.
These are only suggestions. The greater Bridgeport NAACP has for years been hobbled by infighting. It’s time to put aside these differences and create an articulate voice for African-Americans in and around Bridgeport.