Early on its history, some dismissed the NAACP as the National Association for the Advancement of Certain People.
When I discovered Wells Fargo is a “lead sponsor” of the NAACP’s 101st annual convention, I wondered whose interests were being advanced.
As noted in his blog post, Boyce recently shared the stage with NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous:
I was with President Jealous at the Measuring the Movement Black Leadership Forum in New York City last week. I didn't speak to him for very long, but we were on a panel together. One of the key points of the forum was to ensure that leaders are held accountable for their decisions as they pertain to the African American community. Jealous, nor anyone else, is an exception to that rule.Boyce continued:
While I do not accuse the NAACP of any ill will, the truth is that it has got to answer some questions. If you’re suing someone one minute and taking money from them the next, that is going to lead others to have certain presumptions about what happened behind closed doors if there is no transparency in the negotiations and resolution of the conflict. To make things simple, it would be much easier for Wells Fargo to give $200,000 to the NAACP than it is to deal with the multibillion-dollar task of righting its wrongs against the entire African American community. According to data released by the White House, more than 57 percent of the home loans sold to African Americans in the year 2006 are at risk of foreclosure (more than 60 days without a payment). As stakeholders and supporters of the NAACP, the African American community has every right to know the ins and outs of this conversation:
1) How much money did Wells Fargo give to the NAACP?
2) What is it getting in exchange for that money?
3) Exactly how is it planning to change its operating practices? Has it made any formal legal commitments or just a vague promise to “partner” with the NAACP (we all know what it means when a company “partners” with an organization)?
4) Why are there several city and state governments around the nation who have NOT settled their lawsuits with Wells Fargo? (An amended complaint was just filed against the company by the city of Baltimore, which has seen dramatic abandonment allegedly as a result of Wells Fargo’s lending practices). Is the city seeing something that the NAACP has chosen to overlook? If so, why?
5) How is Wells Fargo going to be held accountable by the NAACP in the future? If it is getting money from the organization, it is only logical that the group be expected to properly monitor Wells Fargo's behavior.
Bottom line: Is the NAACP’s agreement with Wells Fargo in the interest of the African American community or just certain people?