By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, mgreen@afro.com

Amid bomb filled packages being delivered to prominent Democrats and anti-Trump activists, the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association’s (NNPA) President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., sent a statement saying the Black Press is under attack and warned its members to remain vigilant while continuing to serve as the voice of Black America.

“The purpose of this communication is to urgently call all of us into a state of renewed vigilance and self-determination with respect to the issues and acts of violence and intimidation aimed at the freedom of the press,” Chavis wrote in a statement to members of NNPA.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. and Dorothy R. Leavell President and CEO and Chairman and the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association (NNPA) respectively. (Courtesy Photo)

While it was not revealed until later in his correspondence to press, Chavis’ letter comes at an exigent moment as the NNPA has been under attack since honoring Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) during Congressional Black Caucus weekend in September.

“Please be advised that NNPA’s national office has also recently received rightwing threats in the wake of our presenting the 2018 NNPA National Leadership Award to Congresswoman Maxine Waters last month in Washington, DC,” he wrote. “As of today, I had to issue a new policy directive and procedures to all national NNPA staff to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of NNPA employees and the office with respect to the reception and inspection of packages delivered to the NNPA via Federal Express, UPS, the U.S. Postal Services, and from other courier delivery services.”

No stranger to fighting in the face of adversity, Chavis has been a leader in many struggles, as a member of the Wilmington Ten, he and nine students of color were imprisoned for protesting for civil rights to a White school administration in 1972; Chavis served as the National Director for the 1995 Million Man March and was Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As NNPA CEO and President, Chavis is now leading the fight for freedom of the press, but also warning journalists and news organizations to be careful — stay woke.

“The point here is that given the increasing daily threats to the free press from the White House, and the sending of packages containing explosives and bombs to former U.S. presidents and other government officials, current members of the U.S. Congress and to the press and media companies, we are alerting and encouraging each of you to be more careful and vigilant in your daily operations with respect to receiving packages and parcels at your offices,” Chavis wrote.

While Chavis admitted that today’s challenges are “trying times,” he pointed out that in its 191 years the Black Press has always persevered.

“The Black Press will not be intimidated by threats or acts of violence. We will be careful, but we are determined to continue to be the audacious voice of Black America,” he wrote.

As midterm elections approach, Chavis encouraged the Black Press to serve as leaders in getting Black people to the polls.

“The Midterm Elections are just a few days away and we will continue to mobilize a historic massive Black voter turnout on November 6, 2018 across the nation.”

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor