Dear President Smitherman:Discuss amongst yourselves.
Recently, you asked Councilmember Jeff Berding to repudiate alleged racist language from Westwood Concern.
Admittedly, though, Westwood Concern might periodically engage a position or an issue with which Councilmember Berding agrees—even if he does not, for example, support everything said by someone like Melva Gweyn.
Nevertheless, it appears right (and your intent) for Jeff Berding to repudiate such inappropriate behavior or words—even if, on other issues, he finds reason to agree with Westwood Concern.
After all, forming alliances with people, even if there are differences, can prove fruitful—as the local NAACP has experienced under your presidency. At the same time, leaders must make clear they can draw a line when it comes to inappropriate behavior, speech, and so forth.
Therefore, we would like to call on you today to make some clear and public repudiations.
As you may know, Christopher Finney, your organization’s Chair of Legal Redress, has appeared in media with statements that many consider anti-gay bigotry. He has said, for example, that restaurants should be able to refuse service to gay patrons—a heterosexist position.
Similarly, Charlie Winburn, a Republican who has been quite visible in his support of every NAACP issue, was a member of the staff of CCV as recently as last Spring. As you know, CCV is an extreme right-winged organization that supported the implementation of Article XII.
It would only be appropriate, then, for you to meet your own standard, repudiating the anti-gay statements and affiliations of Christopher Finney, Charlie Winburn, and the CCV. We, the undersigned, hereby call on you to do exactly that—showing you can meet the same standard you expect of others.
Justin P. Jeffre and [The Dean of Cincinnati]
Friday, May 22, 2009
...thanks to the Beacon. Let me say that I (Barry) fully support this statement and sign onto its language.