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  • 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.

  • 23 Sep 2018 10:15 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageIn response to the Duluth City Council’s pending vote on Monday, September 24, 2018 on the Duluth Police Department’s request to purchase riot gear – representatives of the Duluth NAACP, the Duluth Indigenous Commission, Showing Up for Racial Justice, PRISM, Twin Ports Democratic Socialists of America, the Homeless Persons' Bill of Rights Coalition, and Twin Ports Save The Kids met this Sunday afternoon. The assembled group recommends the following:

    1. Table the vote on the purchase of riot gear;
    2. Allow the community and the Duluth Police Department to gather to discuss and examine Use of Force before specifically discussing the purchase of riot gear; and
    3. Require at least two members of the Duluth Citizen Review Board be involved in the planning of a “Use of Force” forum and participate.

    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.  While a few African American and Native American leaders might have been privy to discussions with police leadership on the issue of riot gear, there has been no significant effort to elicit the wider voice of those communities. The vote on riot gear should be postponed to give the opportunity to come together and formulate a plan to help keep all of Duluth safe from violence and continue to build the trust that local police and community leadership has worked so hard to create and maintain.


  • 19 Sep 2018 10:13 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.

    Daniel Oyinloye is a Duluth community member. 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.

  • 12 Sep 2018 10:07 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageThe Duluth Branch of the NAACP has been made aware of an invitation-only community forum planned and led by the FBI, Duluth Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, Superior Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to be held on Friday, September 14, 2018. We have chosen to issue the following statement in regards to that forum and the upcoming proposal for the purchase of riot gear by the Duluth Police Department.

    The Duluth Branch of the NAACP believes building public trust between the police and the community is key to enhancing public safety and reducing crime without inciting further violence. As an organization, we have worked to create open and accountable relationships with law enforcement to promote safety within our communities. Unfortunately, the “Use of Force in Minnesota” forum scheduled for Friday, September 14th lacks transparency and community involvement in the planning. We feel that any law enforcement policies, trainings, or meetings that directly impact our safety, particularly policies and practices regarding use of force, should have ample community input, which this meeting lacks.

    People of color have been surveilled, profiled, controlled, threatened, and killed by police since the days of slavery. We continue to see people of color disproportionately targeted by the police, resulting in fear for personal safety and higher rates of incarceration. The historical and cultural impacts of policing on our communities have not been fully addressed or considered by policing agencies in Minnesota and Wisconsin, despite recent efforts to increase community outreach.

    We request the forum scheduled for September 14th be postponed in order to create a more authentic and well-directed community dialogue about the use of force and its impacts on communities of color. We encourage the FBI, Duluth Police Department, Superior Police Department, and other agencies to reassess this proposed training and work with local partners to create a truly inclusive format for a conversation around community safety.

    Furthermore, we believe the Duluth Police Department’s request for riot gear will only erode public trust. We have seen the devastating impact an overly-militarized police force has on communities of color. When tools like riot gear are deployed, it creates the false notion that the public – especially people of color – are enemy combatants. When a department is provided new tools, they will use it. Because of these reasons, the Duluth NAACP urges members of the City Council to vote no on any requests for funding for additional riot gear.

    We believe in a healthy community that works together, not one that works to divide and harm itself. As an organization, the NAACP - Duluth Branch is committed to continuing authentic dialogue that leads to accountable relationships between community and law enforcement that benefit all involved.

  • 7 Aug 2018 10:05 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.

    Kym Young is the Founder and Executive Coordinator of the Superior African Heritage Community Organization and local Community Human Rights 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.

    Interview Transcript available

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

  • 23 Jul 2018 9:55 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.

    Carl Crawford is Vice President of the Duluth Branch NAACP, and the Human Rights Officer for the City of Duluth. 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.

    Interview Transcript available

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