Winston County NAACP Branch keeping busy in community, state

Submitted by Claudell Weaver

The Winston County NAACP Branch Unit 5345 under the guidance of Charles Hampton, President and an activist Executive Committee continues to be the eyes, ears, hands and feet for equality and justice. The Winston County NAACP is concerned that the agendas of many state legislatures appear to be relentless in their eagerness to undo years of civil rights legislation. “Campaigns that promised to fix the economy have gone AWOL. The issues most debated are alarming to persons who will be affected the most,” stated the group. Among those concerns are: • Suppressing minority voter turnout with photo I.D. requirements….a solution without a proven problem • Government interference with women’s health issues….a private and personal matter • Implementing harsh immigration laws that may be harmful to our economy and allow profiling • Underfunding public education ….requiring local school districts to use “rainy day funds” • Rushing to approve charter schools without adequate accountability and oversight • Partisan legislative rules to deny the minority a voice and a vote • Continued bickering to repeal laws and regulations that protect the environment and provide health insurance to the uninsured • Failure to pass funding for highways, airports, bridges and ports • Fighting consumer financial protection laws and saving families from dishonest home foreclosures “We work with partners who share our mission to ensure that harmful legislation is recognized and amended before it is passed. Locally, our members are involved in many organizations that are improving the lives of ordinary citizens,” stated the group. The organization also thanked the community for supporting the annual Black Extravaganza in February, the Freedom Fund Banquet in April, the Back-to-School Rally in July, the End-of-Year elected officials meeting and all of the other activities that fill the yearly calendar. “We thank our members for their financial support so we can continue to assist persons wrongfully arrested or unfairly treated in their daily routines. We thank our elected officials for the job they do in managing limited funds and for having an open ear to our input,” stated the organization. “In spite of a fragile economic recovery that is leaving many Americans farther behind and without the opportunity to find good paying jobs (with benefits) or students unable to afford higher education, the Winston County NAACP Branch will be working hard. We will never be satisfied as long as there are under-funded and over- crowded schools that are a pipeline to prison. We will never be satisfied until every child has an equal chance at a good education and the opportunities that America was founded on,” added the group report. The group requested the continued support of the community. “With your help, we will press forward on all civil and human rights to: Close the minority health care gap that has claimed too many lives; End state-sponsored murder by abolishing the death penalty; Oppose modern-day Jim Crow laws that disproportionately deny minority and low-income Americans their right to vote (we don’t all drive, fly or use checks); and Expand economic opportunities in minority communities with high unemployment and predatory lending practices are common,” stated the press release of the group. It also stated, “With your help, we can call out those who perpetuate the myths about minorities being majority food stamp recipients, drug dealers and users. The disrespect of calling President Obama the “food stamp president” and a “snob” for encouraging higher education for students is unprecedented. We can and will model a “kinder and gentler” language and behavior as we defend these initiatives. God bless America on the road to recovery and civility.” Local NAACP becomes involved in burial and investigation into death of inmate Submitted by Elmetra Patterson The NAACP State Conference’s 1st Vice President and chairperson of the Legal Reddress Committee, President of the Winston County Branch NAACP, Charles Hampton of Louisville, announced the graveside funeral of Stuart Brooks, a native of Vicksburg, who was murdered in East Mississippi Correctional Facility on or about February 21, 2012. The family of Stuart Brooks’ called on the NAACP to assist with an investigation into the death of Stuart Brooks after the media announced that he committed suicide. The family also complained about how they were treated after his death by the prison staff. After becoming involved, the NAACP found that the family did not have the funds to bury Mr. Brooks. Since then, the family with the NAACP’s assistance made arrangements for the funeral and burial to be held at the City of Vicksburg Cemetery, 326 Lovers Lane, Vicksburg, on March 6. Professional services were provided by William Herring and Hampton Funeral Home of Louisville. Some NAACP members of the Winston County Branch NAACP provided clothing for the deceased’s burial. An inmate, Thomas Hall, 23 years old, from Pontotoc County has been charged with the murder of Stuart Brooks. Hall and Brooks were cell mates. The family has filed a complaint since the two were not separated by the prison staff after an altercation. According to Charles Hampton, the investigation will continue into this murder, as well into other conditions and incidents at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, Meridian. Please contact Charles Hampton for further information or to provide information into the investigation at (662) 803-0635.