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  • 16 Dec 2018 10:46 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageDuluth is one of the least affordable places in Minnesota to find housing. A minimum wage earner has to work 64 hours a week to afford an average one bedroom apartment here. Thousands of people pay more for housing than they can realistically afford. Over 800 households are on a priority waiting list for housing because they are currently homeless. This is nothing short of a crisis for many of our neighbors, family members, and friends. The social and economic consequences of housing insecurity and neighborhood instability affect us all.

    Recently, the Duluth Planning Commission and the Duluth Economic Development Authority gave their support to $6.2 million in public financing to a Madison-based developer for a 14-story apartment complex to be built downtown. There is no requirement that any of the units in this new building be affordable to regular Duluthians. Monthly rent is projected to run from $1325 for a studio to nearly $3,000 for a two bedroom.

    The city should not give handouts to for-profit developers without a clear public benefit. Right now our greatest public need is housing for low- and moderate-income people. It doesn’t move Duluth forward to build hundreds of units of housing that are only affordable to doctors in the nearby Essentia campus. We need housing that is also affordable to nurses, janitors and employees of the grocery store proposed for the complex.

    Duluth leaders have been talking about the affordable housing crisis for years. It’s time we stop talking and start taking action to make a change.

    We ask the Duluth City Council to table a vote on the TIF (tax increment financing) district for this new development and send it back to DEDA and the Community Development Division to work out a better deal for Duluth taxpayers that includes a plan for long-term affordability. We further ask that any future housing projects receiving public financing be required to include housing that is affordable to low-income people. This is a small step and it is a fair ask of any developer that wants public financing for their private gain. If this TIF district is approved - with or without greater affordability - we ask the City make a similar investment in affordable housing. This is the least we can do to turn the tide and create a Duluth that works for everyone.

    Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition
    Loaves and Fishes Community
    American Indian Community Housing Organization
    Duluth Branch NAACP

  • 8 Dec 2018 10:44 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageThe Duluth NAACP stands with the Duluth Indigenous Commission with renaming Lake Place Park, in Duluth, to Gichi-ode’ Akiing which translates to ‘A Grand Heart Place’ in Anishinaabe language. We understand the importance of genuinely recognizing Anishinaabe lands, people, language, culture and local history to help educate non-Native citizens and visitors

  • 21 Nov 2018 10:42 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    In April 2018, thirty-five Duluth community members attended the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, visiting sites where racial terror had occurred along the way. Among them were several members of the Duluth NAACP, who have agreed to share their experiences on this journey.

    Henry Banks is a Duluth community leader and community activist. Ivy Vainio is chair of the Duluth Branch NAACP Communications Committee.

    Content Warning: Due to the violent subject matter, some of the events discussed in these Duluth to Montgomery Reflections interviews may be unsettling.

    Credits: Duluth to Montgomery Reflections produced by Ivy Vainio, Becky Nelson, Abby Dillon, and Nat Harvie. Our theme music was composed by Jake Vainio.

    Transcript will be available soon.

    To hear other episodes, visit the main Duluth to Montgomery Reflections podcast page.

  • 29 Oct 2018 10:40 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageThe November 6th ballot will include three levy questions regarding resources for our schools. The Duluth NAACP stands in support of the levy, and we urge our community to vote “Yes” on all three questions.

    The first question on the ballot continues the levy that already exists, which supports full-time teacher positions to support class sizes. The second question will bring more staff into the schools. The third will update classroom technology, some of which is over 20 years old.

    We advocate for the district to be held accountable to the public for spending that promotes equity for students of color & low-income students, decreasing achievement gaps, and transparency about budget processes, priorities, and outcomes. We believe that education is important and that our youth deserve the best opportunities we can give them. In addition to voting “Yes,” we also stress the importance of voting in candidates who will provide sustainable funding to our schools.

  • 23 Oct 2018 10:38 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageOctober 23, 2018

    Last night the Duluth City Council passed Resolution 18-0674R, the Duluth Police Department’s (DPD) request to purchase riot gear. The Council voted on the Resolution without allowing public comment, public discussion amongst the councilors, and a formal report from the Citizen Review Board (CRB). We are disappointed in both the city administration and the City Council for pushing through this Resolution and dismissing the community’s request for an open dialogue and transparent process.

    We believe good governing requires transparency and collaboration with the community. The lack of community input in planning the three public forums, hosted on October 9, 10, and 11, and the limited time given to the CRB to issue a formal report on the public forums demonstrates a disregard for due process and the role of community in the democratic process. We feel our request for the vote to remain tabled until the data from the public forums could be collected in a formal report was reasonable and the Council’s decision to move forward on the vote demonstrated a lack of respect for all parties involved, particularly the individuals who took the time to participate in the public forums and attend the City Council and CRB meetings.

    We will continue to work with the CRB to ensure a robust policy is developed and implemented regarding the use and deployment of riot gear in Duluth. It is our hope that the City will work with the community to ensure the policy represents the interests of all parties and that the process for drafting that policy is transparent. Additionally, we hope that any policy properly drafted with community input is then codified by the City Council to ensure that it will stand the test of changing city administration.

    Again, we would like to emphasize that it is imperative that any actions relating to a potential increase in police power happen only after thorough discussion with communities of people of color, American Indians, homeless people, LGBTQ, and others that suffer disproportionate levels of police violence. We believe in a healthy community that works together and we are committed to continuing authentic dialogue that leads to accountable relationships between community and law enforcement that benefit all involved.

  • 21 Oct 2018 10:36 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageOctober 21, 2018

    On September 24, 2018, the Duluth City Council tabled the vote on Resolution 18-0674R, the Duluth Police Department’s (DPD) request to purchase riot gear. Immediately following that meeting, the Citizen Review Board (CRB) passed a motion requesting the City Council allow time for three public forums to occur before the resolution is brought back to the Council for a vote. With limited community involvement and input, the City hosted three forums on October 9, 10, and 11. The CRB collected comments from the public and made that information publicly available at their October 17 meeting.

    Considering the amount of public input and the limited time the CRB has had to properly review and compile the data, the NAACP Duluth Branch is requesting:  

    • The Duluth City Council keep the resolution to purchase riot gear tabled until a full report from the CRB can be issued, and
    • The Mayor create a task force to support the volunteer CRB members in the development of the formal report.

    According to researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD), a proper analysis of the qualitative data collected by the CRB would take at minimum around 40 hours. Considering the CRB is a volunteer group, one week is not sufficient time for a full report. Assuming volunteer availability, we believe the CRB will need a minimum of two weeks to fully report on their findings. Additionally, we believe a task force is necessary to support the CRB’s work and coordinate efforts of the city, the council, the CRB, and the public. For example, the city has implemented similar task forces like the Earned Sick and Safe Time and the Convention to End Discrimination Against Women and we feel the city and community would greatly benefit from a similar process. For these reasons, we would like to express support for the community petition requesting the Mayor support keeping the vote tabled.

    It is imperative that any actions relating to a potential increase in police power happen only after thorough discussion with communities of people of color, American Indians, homeless people, LGBTQ, and others that suffer disproportionate levels of police violence. We believe in a healthy community that works together and we are committed to continuing authentic dialogue that leads to accountable relationships between community and law enforcement that benefit all involved.

  • 17 Oct 2018 10:34 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    In April 2018, thirty-five Duluth community members attended the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, visiting sites where racial terror had occurred along the way. Among them were several members of the Duluth NAACP, who have agreed to share their experiences on this journey.

    Sharon Witherspoon is a Duluth respected elder, member of the NAACP - Duluth Branch, and community social justice activist. Ivy Vainio is chair of the Duluth Branch NAACP Communications Committee.

    Content Warning: Due to the violent subject matter, some of the events discussed in these Duluth to Montgomery Reflections interviews may be unsettling.

    Credits: Duluth to Montgomery Reflections produced by Ivy Vainio, Becky Nelson, Abby Dillon, and Nat Harvie. Our theme music was composed by Jake Vainio.

    Transcript will be available soon.

    To hear other episodes, visit the main Duluth to Montgomery Reflections podcast page.

  • 8 Oct 2018 10:28 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageThe Duluth Branch NAACP will hold its election of Officers and Executive Committee Members on December 16, 2018, 11AM to 3PM at 1Roof/Central Hillside Community Center (12 East 4th Street Duluth, MN 55805).

    Important Dates to Remember

    Sunday, October 21, 2018, 3:30 PM at 1Roof, General Membership Meeting

    The Nominating Committee will be elected. This committee will hold no less than five members or more than fifteen people. Two individuals within the Nominating Committee must serve on the current Executive Committee.

    Sunday, November 18, 2018, 3:30PM at 1Roof, General Membership Meeting

    The Nominating Committee will be present their report showing a recommended slate of Officers. After a motion to approve the slate passes, nominations are received from the floor. The Election Supervisory Committee will be elected to oversee the election. All members whose memberships are current as of April 1st of the election year may be nominated for office or as an at-large member of the Executive Committee. In order to sign a nominating petition, or be elected to the Election Supervisory Committee, a member must be current as of 30 days prior to the October meeting.

    Sunday December 16, 2018 Elections & General Membership Meeting

    Branch elections are held. In order to vote in a Branch election, one must be a member in good standing of the Branch 30 days prior to the election. A form of identification is required.

    Branch election results are announced at the General Membership Meeting at 3:30PM.

    Officers to be Elected

    President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and up to 24 Executive Board Members

    Important Links

    National Bylaws

    2018 Election Manual

  • 3 Oct 2018 10:23 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    October 3, 2018

    Duluth City Councilors & Mayor Emily Larson,

    On September 24, 2018, the Duluth City Council heard over two hours of public comment on Resolution 18-0674R, the Duluth Police Department’s (DPD) request to purchase riot gear. It is imperative that any actions relating to a potential increase in police power happen only after thorough discussion with communities of people of color, Native Americans, homeless people, LGBTQ and others that suffer disproportionate levels of police violence.

    At the City Council Meeting, we requested the vote be tabled to allow the community and the DPD to gather to discuss and examine use of force and at least two members of the Duluth Citizen Review Board (CRB) be involved and participate in planning community forums. We would like to thank the Council for tabling the vote. Additionally, we support the CRB motion passed on September 26, 2018 requesting the Council allow time for 3 public forums to occur before the resolution is brought back to the Council for a vote.

    We believe building public trust between the police and the community is key to enhancing public safety and reducing crime without inciting further violence, which requires open dialogue and ample opportunities for public input. We have met since the City Council and CRB Meetings in order to identify how we can best be involved in and support the planning of public forums. However, it is our concern that these forums are being planned without community input. We would again like to stress the importance of community involvement in the planning and execution of forums that will be discussing potential impacts on our personal safety.  We ask for clear lines of communication from you so there is no lack of clarity about how to we may give or receive input.

    We have begun outlining what we would like to see in these public forums and humbly request:

    • City Councilors Em Westerlund and Joel Sipress be the community liaisons for the planning process
    • Three forums be scheduled across the city, specific recommendations include:
      • East Duluth Forum at either the University of Minnesota Duluth or The College of St. Scholastica
      • Central Duluth Forum at either the Holy Family Catholic Church or Lincoln Park Middle School
      • West Duluth Forum at Evergreen, Denfeld High School, or Good Fellowship Club
    • The forums be scheduled at different times to accommodate all members of the community; the ideal times would be:
      • East Duluth Forum on the weekend
      • Central Duluth Forum on a Wednesday afternoon
      • West Duluth Forum on a Tuesday evening

    We believe in a healthy community that works together, not one that works to divide and harm itself. We are committed to continuing authentic dialogue that leads to accountable relationships between community and law enforcement that benefit all involved.

    Respectfully submitted,

    The Executive Board of the Duluth NAACP
    Showing Up for Racial Justice
    PRISM
    Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition
    Twin Ports Save The Kids
    Twin Ports DSA
    Lake Superior Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing
    Feminist Justice League
    Lake Superior Socialist Action
    Justice City Coalition

  • 30 Sep 2018 10:21 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    On Saturday, October 13th, a free non-partisan celebration of the right to vote will be held at Denfeld High School, 4405 W 4th St in Duluth, from 1pm-5pm.  The purpose of the festival is to increase voter turnout among individuals and groups that traditionally are less likely to vote.

    Edward Moody and Ramona Marozas from CBS 3 News will co-emcee the Festival.   The event will feature voter registration, sample ballots, election information, free food, live music, a dance troupe, spoken word, door prizes, free t-shirts, children’s activities and more.

    Lead organization for the Soles to the Polls Festival is the Duluth Branch of the NAACP along with the following community supporters: League of Women Voters Duluth, CHUM, Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, Life House, MN Coalition for the Homeless, Damiano Center, Local Solutions to End Poverty, Loaves and Fishes, Health in All Policies, YWCA Duluth, Community Action Duluth, College of St. Scholastica, Peace United Church of Christ, Blackbird Revolt, Arc Northland, AICHO, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, March For Our Lives, Family Freedom Center, Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, St. Mark AME Church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth, Healthy Alliances Matter, UMD School of Social Work, Human Rights Commission.

    This event is wheel chair accessible.  ASL interpreters will be provided by KY Interpreter Referral.

    The Festival is nonpartisan. Campaigning of any kind for candidates or parties will not be allowed.  This includes campaign literature as well as candidate t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc.

    You can visit the event page at duluthnaacp.org/vote.