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Hudson schools critic seeks to revive NAACP here

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HUDSON–The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually referred to by its initials NAACP, may have found a new leader for a local chapter.

Musician Michael Elliott Moore has collected over 100 signatures of potential members. Once he collects the $30 membership fee from the first 25 members, Mr. Moore says he will be able to start holding meetings, set up a board of directors, and obtain a charter from the NAACP’s regional office.

Hudson had a local NAACP chapter but after the death of Hazel Dukes the organization fell into receivership and efforts to revive it failed to elicit support. The organization’s former members were no longer interested, said one former member.

Anyone regardless of their skin color may join, said Mr. Moore. “White is a color too. It is important to bring people together to help all people of color. It will be a viable branch for the whole community,” he said.

Mr. Moore is known for his outspoken criticism at Hudson school board meetings of the way the district has handled racial problems, in particular, the use of the “N-word,” with which classmate taunted his son in 2008. At a meeting in February he criticized what he believes is the district’s uneven treatment of different individuals who used the racial epithet. “You can’t tell someone not to be a racist, but if you sit down together and discuss things, it changes their perception of the reality we have about each other,” he said.

At a recent school board meeting he was pleased to see that he was mentioned in the minutes for what he said about bullying, hate crimes and his efforts to restart the NAACP.

“For the first time the board recognized that using the N-word is a hate crime,” he said referencing a state statute.

He said he hopes the organization’s agenda will be driven by its membership and the issues they are concerned with, adding that fair employment is an issue important to him.

Lowell Siegel, the attorney for the Albany branch of the NAACP for the last 12 years and a friend of Mr. Moore’s, believes that the organization is just as necessary to those living in rural areas “where diversity is limited” as it is to urban populations. “The branches across the country have proven since 1909 that they are not just relevant, but significant to the ideal society in which colors are insignificant.”

Mr. Siegel said his job is to help guide Mr. Moore “through what I know to be difficult paths.” He expects Mr. Moore will lead the chapter, adding, “I have full confidence that he’ll do an excellent job.”

Elena Mosley, head of Operation Unite said of the effort to restart the chapter, “I think it is a viable organization that is still needed in these times.”

Hudson School Board member Peter Meyer said he was happy that Mr. Moore has decided to revive an NAACP branch here. He said that African-American students comprise 30% of the student population in the district. “An active NAACP would be a valuable voice in helping those students getting a great education,” he said. He called Mr. Moore “an indefatigable fighter for equal rights in the schools for the last five years.”

Mr. Meyer said that Mr. Moore “is broadening his concerns to the community at large. Equal rights should be everyone’s concern. I wish him well in this vital endeavor.”

 

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