Johnston County NAACP Urges Community Leaders, Groups To Speak Out About Social Injustice

The Johnston County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sent a letter Monday to local leaders, elected officials, mayors, police chiefs, chambers of commerce, community groups, Johnston County Manager Rick Hester, Sheriff Steve Bizzell and District Attorney Susan Doyle encouraging them to release statements concerning the recent death of George Floyd and their solutions for equality and justice.

The letter stated:

“Once again America has witnessed a public, modern-day lynching of a black man at the hands of the very institution sworn to protect and serve him. We stand with our members and the protestors, who believe, enough is enough.  We stand with the family of George Floyd and all the other families of countless victims, murdered by police officers.  We stand with those who are working to bring about justice in their own way.”

“Far too long, America has been silent concerning the entrenched discrimination and injustice in all aspects of the lives of the Black and Brown, of the underserved, and of the least of these.  In particular, violent police practices have become normal because no one spoke out in opposition, not even coworkers, supervisors nor elected officials. The solution starts with a sense of urgency about change. “Racism and the targeting of people of color and of Black men have to be our problem, not just ours. It needs to be shared by all of us. Our lives literally depend on it.”  Enough is enough.”

“Dr. King stated, ”The nation waited until the black man was explosive with fury before stirring itself even to partial concern.  What might once have been a series of separate problems, now merge into a social crisis of almost stupefying complexity.”  This accurately describes our present state of America.  We have been here before.  Enough is enough.”

“Those who viewed the cruel, unapologetic murder of George Floyd without feeling the pain for a dying man, crying out for his mother, have a moral deficient.  Until America really views and treats all as equals and recognizes their humanity, America will never evolve into a nobler state.  But in the meantime, we encourage others to speak out, point out, and vote out and act out peacefully against all forms of discrimination and inequity from the White house, to the State House and to the Town Council.  We are not asking for partial solutions to placate, or silence our quest for justice.  We demand to be recognized as equally-valued citizens of Johnston County.  Enough is enough.”

“We call on our local leaders, especially the Mayors, Council Members, Sheriff, District Attorney, Police Chiefs, City Managers, and local business leaders to release statements concerning the present state of affairs. Quoting Dr. King, “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  Enough is enough.”

The letter was signed by Dr. Gettys Cohen, Jr., DDS, President – NAACP Johnston County Branch; Tony Nixon, President – East Smithfield Improvement Organization; Alisa Bizzell, President – Johnston Citizens Association; Dr. Robert A. O’Neal, Pastor – O’Neal Revival Tabernacle; and Councilman Marlon Lee, President – Smithfield Progressive Men’s Club