The Baltimore City branch of the NAACP is regrouping with a new agenda and new leadership. The local branch will host a delegation of the city’s civil rights organizations in a meeting with new Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa next week and has announced a comprehensive economic inclusion agenda in cooperation with the organization’s national headquarters.
“We’re taking the lead in bringing local civil rights organizations to a meeting on the 16th of this month. We’re going to be talking about his conversation around plain clothes units. We’re going to be talking about the consent decree,” said Anthony McCarthy, newly appointed executive director of the Baltimore branch.
“The Baltimore NAACP, The National Action Network and the Urban League all plan to be intimately involved in moving forward with the implementation of the consent decree,” said McCarthy, who is a former spokesperson for Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. McCarthy also served in the administrations of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Mayor Sheila Dixon. In addition, he is a former editor with the AFRO.
McCarthy was appointed executive director by the chapter’s executive committee in January. Ronald Flamer became president of the Baltimore NAACP after the controversial departure of long-time president Tessa Hill-Aston last Fall.
Flamer believes the reinstatement of the executive director’s role will strengthen the chapter and return the Baltimore branch to its core advocacy work with an increasingly complex local civil rights agenda, which includes the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) consent decree and continuing the work of moving Baltimore’s economic, educational and public policy agendas forward.
“We are excited to have someone of Anthony’s caliber take on this leadership position with the Baltimore City NAACP. He has a strong history of social justice advocacy and brings decades of experience in public service and media to the job,” Flamer said.
The Baltimore branch will take the lead in connecting with city government on recommendations in the NAACP’s 2018 Economic Inclusion Plan for Baltimore released Feb. 6 jointly with the organization’s national office and Maryland State Conference.
Specific recommendations for jump starting economic viability in Baltimore include vacant land transfer to community land trusts and a local government-enforced crackdown on predatory lending practices that continue to negatively impact home ownership for African-Americans in Baltimore, according to the report.
“We now look forward to utilizing these strategies for economic inclusion in our work with the community to truly make a difference,” said Edsel Brown, economic chair, NAACP Maryland State Conference.
Collaboration is a key theme for both the Baltimore Branch and the NAACP national office this year. The national headquarters recently experienced a shake-up in 2017 as well, dismissing Cornell Williams Brooks in the spring and replacing him with Derrick Johnson in Aug. 2017.
Johnson quickly kicked off a “listening tour” in several cities, including Baltimore, amid the city branch’s turmoil and ultimate change in leadership. The listening tour served as the impetus for the Economic Inclusion report.
Finally, McCarthy said the local chapter has adopted a legislative agenda and plans to issue support letters on issues ranging from legislation in support of the city’s two HBCU’s (Coppin State and Morgan State Universities) to HB-687, proposed by State Delegate Antonio Haynes requiring security services at Baltimore’s senior housing sites.
The Baltimore Branch of the NAACP was placed under administrative receivership last Fall after Hill-Aston’s departure. The national organization appointed NAACP State Conference Director Gerald Stansbury as branch receiver. The Baltimore branch will hold elections for permanent officers this Fall. Flamer has not yet announced whether he will seek the presidency for a full term.
In the meantime, McCarthy plans to prove the value of hiring full-time staff to support the Baltimore Branch through service. “I’m committed to serving this organization. I am going to work diligently every day and earn my keep,” McCarthy said.