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  • 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.

  • 29 May 2018 9:49 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative imageNAACP Duluth Branch recognizes that Starbucks around the country are having Implicit Bias training today [May 29, 2018] and commends them for doing so. By the same token, the NAACP understands that this move was a reactive response to incidents to other Starbucks in our Nation rather than a proactive response. As the old saying goes, "Better Late Than Never." There is still much work to do concerning race and culture in our Nation and these types of trainings are just the beginning to truly understand the complex and damaging dynamics of racism. We hope that this will be just the first step in Starbucks’ commitment to making sure that it is welcoming to all of its customers. The real proof of Starbucks commitment to racial justice will be evident in the coming years if examples like what occurred in Philadelphia no longer are taking place.

  • 14 May 2018 9:28 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Decorative image

    The Duluth Chapter of the NAACP has adopted the same Social Media guidelines as the National office.

    The NAACP Facebook community is a great opportunity to share and exchange thoughts, ideas, theories and other content in a respectful and unifying manner.

    We seek to foster a community that allows NAACP members and supporters, activists, concerned citizens, and the general public the opportunity to discuss, analyze, critique and present solutions to issues pertinent to the NAACP’s agenda. Our community will be constructive and will ultimately seek to generate solutions-based conversation. We’ll agree to disagree when necessary but will always convey respect and reflect our common thread of humanity. We invite all to participate with the hopes that their collective insight will advance the NAACP’s mission of ensuring the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. We encourage all of you to join us and aid our efforts in social action and creating a better America for us all.

    As we are a community comprised of Americans of all backgrounds, we expect all of our community participants to maintain a high level of sensitivity, particularly as it relates to:

    • race/ethnicity
    • gender
    • sexual orientation
    • religion
    • political beliefs
    • education
    • socioeconomic status

    Guidelines for Commenting

    Comments that violate the following guidelines may be deleted.

    1. Comments that address people using slurs or negatively reference one’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. are unacceptable and are subject to immediate removal from the group.
    2. Personal attacks are not conducive to fostering healthy dialogue and will be dealt with accordingly. We want to foster an environment when folks can come together to discussion issues pertinent to their community. At times, there will be a need to agree to disagree, but we ask that you remain respectful at all times and NEVER attack an individual.
    3. Violent threats or suggested violence will result in immediate removal from the group.
    4. Many comment threads are infested with trolls – put simply, people who post comments to specifically start a fight, defame, divide, distract or otherwise detract from the overall function of the community. In instances of trolling, we ask that the community just ignore them. Trolls will be subject to immediate removal from our Facebook community.
    5. We discourage long, point-by-point arguments. These types of conversations tend to alienate the rest of the community and often stray from the initial purpose of the disagreement.
    6. Stereotypes have the potential to be divisive and offensive, and any comment that does so will be monitored closely. We encourage intelligent, enlightened conversation and careful articulation of one’s thoughts before posting (again, sensitivity is key).
    7. Another key aspect of sensitivity is to avoid minimizing the comments/posts of others. We all have our individual priorities and beliefs – it is important to respect this fact and react accordingly. Disagreement can occur without making another feel their stance is less than important. Any instances of minimizing will be dealt with accordingly, first with a warning, though subsequent occurrences will be subject to removal from the community.
    8. If all or most of your comments are repetitive and off-topic, we reserve the right to ban you from the community. Comments that are blatantly off-topic will be deleted. We will be strictly monitoring those who we feel may try to “hijack” the forum to advance their own agenda. Repeat posts will be deleted, while the poster is subject to permanent removal from the community.

      We always encourage thought-provoking posts & commentary, but ask that you please take a moment to read and reflect on the post or comment before you insert your related commentary. Repeated transgressions will result in permanent removal from the community.

    9. Disagreement with comments is natural and encouraged. However, if you happen to take offense to a comment, please address the commenter clearly and respectfully.
    10. Please do not use the comment section to air complaints, whether it be about a post, a particular comment or the moderation of our page. Please address all such concerns to comm@duluthnaacp.org.

      Should you have a comment or thought that is unrelated to an existing thread and meets our community guidelines, please feel free to begin a discussion on the Duluth Branch NAACP’s Facebook wall.

      Again, we are a solutions-oriented community and welcome disagreement, but want to take every opportunity to extend the conversation. Dissent with no proposed solution does no good for any of us.

    11. Do not use this Facebook community for self-promotion. There are exceptions where post may simultaneously advance the conversation while also promoting; the assessment of such instances and its appropriateness is left to the discretion of the page moderator.
    12. Last but not least, we want to remind you that this is YOUR community. We welcome your participation & contribution to all threads. We ask that you do your part to adhere to the guidelines we’ve set before you and encourage others to do the same. Should you have additional questions, please email comm@duluthnaacp.org.
  • 11 Apr 2018 9:18 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    The Education Committee for Duluth’s Branch of the NAACP has the goal of leading the Association’s work to eliminate the severe racial inequities that continue to plague our education system and ensure that every student of color receives a quality public education that prepares them to be a contributing member of a democracy.

    The committee is made up of 10 NAACP members working to give all children in Duluth a fair and equal chance to learn in a safe and supportive environment.

    Recently, the committee has been working closely with Duluth’s ISD 709 school district curriculum committee. Curriculum books need to to meet state standards which are not necessarily centered around race, history, or culture. The Curriculum committee, with input from the NAACP, is working on a process that would include creating a new criteria or standards for how books will be selected in the future. To clarify, the Duluth branch of the NAACP did not make the decision to remove any books from the school district’s curriculum. Please review our official statement on this issue.

    In regards to the directive by the ISD 709 school board around compensatory education funding, the education team has also been working with the Educational Equity Alliance group (EEA), which also includes members from the Indigenous Commission. The committees have made a collective decision to stand together and hold the school district accountable for how Compensatory Education money is being spent. The committee plans to work with the district on an ongoing basis.

    Lastly, the committee, along with involvement from the Chapter President, recently constructed a letter urging local school districts who don’t currently take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off to consider doing so in the coming years. Along with encouraging them to take the day off, the committee also asks for their participation in local events surrounding the holiday.

    If you are interested in learning more about the Education Committee feel free to contact education@duluthnaacp.org and or attend a NAACP General Meeting which occurs every third Sunday of the month at 3:30 pm at One Roof Housing.