The NAACP already has a bad reputation for trying to take political credit and solicit financial contributions from the public in cases that the NAACP ignored until the national press moved in. In the case of the Jena Six, it was discovered that most of the contributions the NAACP received when it sprang on the scene were spent not mostly on the legal defense for the Jena Six, but rather half of the money was spent on NAACP internal administration. So, public giving to the NAACP did not help the Jena Six directly as much as it helped the NAACP.
Jack and Jill Politics said at that time, quoting Yobachi's TheJena6Blog,
Yobachi’s got all the facts at The Jena Six Blog. The NAACP has finally released a report on their Jena 6 activities and fundraising. As a member, I’m disgusted. Color of Change raised $200,000, mostly from individual donors, and gave 90% of the funds to the lawyers representing the Jena 6 families and to the families themselves. That’s quite a contrast.
I’m an NAACP member and I’m offended by the NAACP’s inefficiency and also by their taking advantage of one of the biggest civil rights events in recent memory to fill their own coffers. That doesn’t represent my values, nor do I think that most members would be impressed by their sad performance.
Here’s a snippet from the report with Yobachi’s notes in bold and brackets.
Contributions received by the NAACP in response to the Jena Campaign include:
Internet Contributions: $ 8,782.00
Mail Contributions: $11,112.00
Total: $19,894.00 Mail contributions of $11,112.00 include a $10,000.00 donation from celebrity musician David Bowie.[So more than half their donation money came from one rich individual. Sorry, but that's not very effective fund raising by the old guard there]
Expenses related to support to the LaSalle Parrish Branch (travel, meetings and web cast) associated with the September 20, 2007 march and streaming video of the town hall meeting total:$10,283.00 [I don't recall that site, which I viewed a few times back in the summer and fall of last year, notifying donors that there money would go towards support of branches and for meetings. The industry standard for over head is about 35% and many think that's too high.]Excess of revenue over expense $ 9,611.00The NAACP will provide a check in the amount of $10,000.00 in pro rata shares, to the attorneys providing legal services to the Jena defendants. [So they took in 19,894 and spent 10,283 on themselves. That's 52% overhead. Even if you give the NAACP credit for the $389 they added to the pot, that's still 50% overhead]
Knowing that many young men and women of color outside Jena face discrimination in the criminal justice system, the NAACP has declared a State Of Emergency to call attention to the problem of unequal justice nationwide. We welcome the support and assistance of all likeminded individuals and organizations seeking systematic change and broad based solutions to racial injustice.
The NAACP and its members thank you for your continuing support and dedication to justice.
So, why does the NAACP always show up on the scene at the last minute and ask the public to contribute money to the NAACP, instead of doing what others groups do: ask the public to contribute to the defendant(s)' legal defense account?
Evelyn Rasko, who has co-published a blog about this case at least since 2009, tells us that the NAACP is at it again, profiteering for publicity and dollars off the work that others did before they arrived and making political decisions that local activists find to be incomprehensible. On April 25, 2010, the blog was critical of the NAACP presence, saying:
On December 30, 2010, the Free Scott Sisters Blog announced that the Scott sisters were free and that the arrival of the national NAACP had been useful to the case. The question is, with the sisters in jail for sixteen years, what took the NAACP so long? The answer seems to be that national NAACP executives only engage in high profile cases, where they are able to request that checks for the victims be sent to the NAACP instead, and where the media spotlight will be present before the NAACP arrives.
MDOC [Mississippi Department of Corrections] Commissioner Christopher Epps, whom we've been contacting for months regarding the disastrous level of Jamie's care and who's been steadily misinforming people that she's not as sick as we've regularly documented, even after she had to be hospitalized several times for high toxicity and infections that almost took her life, is being HONORED as the KEYNOTE SPEAKER by the Jackson County, MS NAACP at their upcoming banquet on April 30, 2010!
How could this branch, which is actually portrayed as an activist branch that has courageously taken on the police dept. and most recently the fire dept., completely ignore the sickeningly outrageous case of the Scott Sisters! And to add insult to injury, laud Christopher Epps, who covers up the low-budget, some-timey care that denies Jamie Scott regular medications, regular dialysis, and the specific diet she has been told repeatedly that she needs to maintain any semblance of health. The medical care is said by inmates there to be abysmal on every level, and particularly so for Jamie Scott, with end stage kidney failure!
On Saturday, September 18, 2010, the The Free the Scott Sister Blog announced with amazement and jubilation, "MSNBC gave coverage to this case! Featur[ing] Mrs. Rasco and NAACP Prez,
Ben Jealous". Back on April 25, 2010, the blog was critical of the NAACP presence, saying:
Was inviting the MDOC (Mississippi Department of Corrections) Commissioner Christopher Epps to a banquet a cynical political gambit on the part of the NAACP, to gain Commissioner Epps' access, attention and assistance (in which case it was acceptable way to open and improve the lines of communication), or was this just another example of the NAACP's policy of giving off-color and ill-timed banquets as a solution for America's troubles?
This is a smack in the face to Mrs. Rasco, to whom Epps made false promises of relief for Jamie, as well as Jamie and Gladys Scott, their supporters, and the community at large! This organization should be fighting on the front lines for justice for the Scott Sisters and not inviting Christopher Epps to some banquet! And what of the national NAACP, why are they NOT responding to the many requests that have been made of them for the past 15 years to become involved in this case!
This is the final indignity and must not go unchallenged. This bureaucrat should not pompously sit up there picking his teeth and pontificating while Jamie Scott lay suffering in one of the very prison cells that he oversees, a prison cell that she (nor her sister) should even be in!
Please contact the president of the Jackson County, Mississippi NAACP, Curly Clark, and ask him:
* Why is the NAACP distinguishing a man who would allow a woman to deteriorate in a prison on his watch until she is now at end stage of kidney failure?
* Why does the NAACP want to hear from a man that won't permit this same, very seriously ill woman to be housed in the Medical Bldg. on the grounds of that facility so that she can be cared for by her sister and instead has her housed in a mold-infested, damp, breeding ground for the infections which have repeatedly threatened her life?
Ask Jackson County NAACP President, Curly Clark, and State President, Derrick Johnson, why they are not involved in the fight for justice for the Mississippi Scott Sisters, a shocking and internationally known atrocity occurring right in their own backyard!
This entire event should be protested if Epps remains on the program and attendees given refunds for their $30 tickets!
Curly Clark, President, Jackson County NAACP
Derrick Johnson, State President
Mississippi State Conference NAACP
1072 West J.R. Lynch Street
Jackson, MS 39203