Several years ago, because of my pro-active participation in the civil rights movement throughout America, and because I had recently moved back to Milwaukee, the local NAACP President invited me to speak to the board of directors. I had seen the assertive and brave actions that the Milwaukee NAACP had taken during the 1960s. Many issues facing minorities in Milwaukee were brought to the forefront by the local NAACP. So, I was honored to speak to the local NAACP board.
I opened my talk to the board by saying, "Where in the hell have you been?" I mentioned how I knew first-hand the important role that was played by their local chapter in the 1960s and beyond. I mentioned some personal experiences I had had being alongside the young NAACP Commandos and other actions. I praised the work and witness that the NAACP made in the evolution of housing rights, civil rights, etc. in Milwaukee. And then, in my opinion, the NAACP in Milwaukee fell far too silent. Perhaps I missed something as I lived in other cities. But knowing of their bravery and impact, I wondered what had happened. Where was the organization?
I knew at the time that the local chapter was going through the early stages of some leadership in-fighting, and felt perhaps they were distracted from playing a leading role in civill rights in Milwaukee. Whatever the reason, I offered a sort of challenge to them to re-activate the measure of impact they could have here.
I don't claim to know as much about the local NAACP today as I should. But I know what it had done several decades ago in Milwaukee and nationally. But I am wondering why I do not hear or read about their proactivity here. Why are they not at the forefront of bringing issues and needs to the community? The NAACP once carried a major reputation that effected change. Where are they today?
If I'm missing something, I apologize. If they have fallen too silent, I ask this question once again:
Where the hell are you?
Milwaukee needs the NAACP to once again take a leadership position in addressing the needs of minorities. Repeat: we need you!
As Sam Cooke represented to the nation decades ago, "Change gonna come," but it won't happen magically without the direct and proactive presence of the Milwaukee NAACP.