In a city with over 600k, only 136 voted in local NAACP election yesterday
(BALTIMORE – November 25, 2020) – The Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP conducted elections for the 2021-2022 term during the November 24th General Membership Meeting. Eleven positions were on the ballot. The office of president and the office of assistant secretary were contested.
Kobi Little and Will Hanna were candidates for the office of president. Dr. Francesca Weaks and Kaleena Weathers were candidates for the office of assistant secretary.
While Hanna pulled in 22 votes, Little garnered 114. The branch has over a thousand members.
According to Will Hanna, “It is very disheartening.” He added, “The branch had over 3,000 members three years ago. Today, it only has 1,217 members. There’s a huge drop-off in involvement, engagement and membership in the branch. Of that 1,217, you had less than 12% participation. Most people did not vote.”
When asked why, Hanna replied, “For an organization such as the NAACP, that stands for Civil Rights and for fighting voter suppression, you would think that any administration would want to have full participation of its branch members. I have pe4rsonally raised these concerns since July.”
In July, he requested that the voting process be followed to the letter. This included a mailer to go out – per the election rules – about the notification of the branch members where the nominating committee is selected. But, that never happened. This letter would have laid out the rules for everyone to
With a storied past, the Baltimore NAACP is the second oldest branch in the nation and was championed by the likes of Lillie Carroll Jackson and Enolia Pettigen McMillan, the first female national president of the NAACP. Former presidents of the local branch include G. I. Johnson, Marvin Cheatham, and Tessa Hill-Aston. Hill-Aston was the first female president since McMillan.
According to Hill-Aston, yesterday’s voter turnout was not encouraging. “It’s sad,” she said. “What really made me sad is the number of votes of yesterday’s election results,” she added.
She said that under Cheatham’s leadership, the numbers were much higher. And when she took over, they went even higher.
“We had way over 2,000 members during my tenure. I even received a national award for Baltimore’s increased numbers which reached over 2,500 members.”
She also stated that although 2020 has been a difficult year, it is in these kinds of times that people depend on the NAACP even more. “There’s been an overall lack of activity, including no fundraising. Each year, we typically host the Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, but in 2018 and 2019, there was no such event. People want titles but they do not want the work. There’s a lot of hard work in running any non-profit and it’s all volunteer work, but still – people need to know that you are there for them. There have been a lot developments over this past year both locally and nationally where the Baltimore NAACP should have been out there.”
Kobi Little said in a statement: “I’m grateful to the members of the Baltimore NAACP for re-electing me to the Branch presidency. I extend my thanks to all who offered themselves as candidates and offer my congratulations to the outstanding team of leaders who were elected alongside of me. I look forward to continuing to serve with them in the pursuit of justice, equity and equality. Last night, despite the pandemic, we had nearly a 100% increase in participation in comparison to the 2018 election (which was conducted by the national office). 69 votes were cast in 2018. 136 votes were cast this year. We are making progress on many fronts and there is still much work to be done. I invite all to partner in the work of the Branch and to recruit new members. In the last three years we have had only one member to recruit hundreds of new members. We need all of our members to recruit hundreds of new members. Please join the branch today! Adult membership is $30. Youth membership is $15. https://www.paypal.com/