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NAJEE’S NOTES: L.A. NAACP president suspended by national office

Carl R. Henley, president of the NAACP Los Angeles branch, has been suspended for numerous bylaws violations by national NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

The news of Henley’s suspension, which was detailed in a letter sent to Henley and NAACP board members, is the talk of the city. Henley’s suspension, effective immediately, was met with joy by most branch members and other prominent Los Angeles community leaders.

The NAACP is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. But you would never know that based on Henley’s leadership in Los Angeles. The facts are that in Los Angeles under the previous leadership of NAACP L.A. Branch President Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, a LAUSD retired teacher and life member of the NAACP, the NAACP was actively involved in the civic affairs of our community.

The NAACP L.A. branch also had an annual fundraiser which was always successful to help support the local and national branch with monetary corporate funds which are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. 

The reality is at Hempstead’s age, she wasn’t leading any protests in Los Angeles, but she supported them and had a presence in them similar to California NAACP national board member Alice Huffman, who didn’t lead the protests in Sacramento after the controversial police shooting death of Stephon Clarke, the unarmed African-American youth who was killed in 2018 by Sacramento police.

Huffman was at the forefront demanding justice for the Clarke family with press conferences, community meetings and meeting with various local and state elected officials.

Hempstead filled a similar role under her L.A. NAACP presidency, which included being a successful fundraiser for the L.A. branch, but Hempstead stepped down two years ago and after Henley assumed the L.A. branch presidency, the branch went into an immediate steep decline.

Henley hasn’t been active or visible in any civil rights struggle in South L.A. He hasn’t raised any funds for the branch and canceled the annual fundraiser and holiday party.

How can a branch survive if the president doesn’t raise any funds and cancels a major annual fundraiser that was always sold out with corporate donors? 

To add insult to injury, two years ago Henley promised several high school seniors that they would receive a monetary stipend to support their college efforts. Two years later, Henley has reneged. Those students never received one penny from Henley.

How can you represent the NAACP promising student’s scholarship funds and then not deliver?

Needled to say, a couple of months ago some of the students and their parents who Henley had promised a monetary gift attended an L.A. NAACP branch meeting and were not pleased that Henley lied to them and disgraced the name of the NAACP with false promises and straight up lying to these young people.

The look of shame and embarrassment was upon every branch member who was present at the meeting as we all had to look the students and parents in the face that Henley had lied to. Henley isn’t qualified to be president and has permanently divided the L.A. branch.

If Henley isn’t removed permanently, this will be the death of the L.A. branch, a branch that sits in one of the biggest cities and civil rights markets in the nation.

I challenge anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating about Henley being ineffective and useless the past two years with the NAACP. Google his name along with NAACP. Only two articles come up, neither of them of any substance.

Then juxtapose that with other NAACP leaders in California like Alice Huffman, Darrell Goode, Ron Hasson, Paulette Simpson Gipson or even this writer. Our work on behalf of the NAACP is numerous and visible. You may not always agree with our respective positions but at least were actively involved with NAACP activism in our respective cities.

If this was a court of law, I could rest my case with Google against Henley being useless. 

As a paid member of the NAACP L.A. branch, I don’t believe in talking behind branch members’ backs and I don’t bite my tongue for anybody. So, let me continue to say publicly Henley should just resign and don’t even bother appealing his suspension, if he really wants to help the NAACP and our community.

He’s the laughingstock of the NAACP and the Los Angeles civil rights community. Branch members continue to call Henley the invisible man, and many branch members hope to soon call him the disappearing man.

And finally. Let’s get it on. Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson will host the Marvin Gaye Post Office dedication, which will be held June 15 from noon to 1 p.m. The post office located at 3585 S. Vermont Ave. — just across the street from the University of Southern California — will be named after the two-time Grammy-winning singer famous for hits like “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing.”

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, introduced the resolution HR 1496 in 2017, and the president signed it into law last July. The resolution was presented to Bass by Zeola Gaye, the youngest sister of Gaye and this writer.

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