Chapter News

NAN Across America (1-11-12)

Jan 11, 2012


The Atlanta chapter held a brief press conference on December 28, 2011 on behalf of Dawntrae Williams. Dawntrae Williams, age 15 (is bipolar, schizophrenia, Asperger’s Syndrome, FAS, and severe asthma). On December 19, 2011 he was outside having a breakdown that’s associated with his disorder. Ms. Harris (grandma) called the crisis counselor, and they asked her to call the police to transport him to mental hospital. When the police arrived, Dawntrae had a knife in his hand. Allegedly the police told him to drop the knife, and he did. They told him to walk toward the car, and he ran toward the car and the police opened fire. He was shot 5 times and died instantly. Ms. Harris said there was very little blood, and they never tried to revive him.

The chapter has sought to address the needs of Georgia’s citizen’s in the current media landscape. Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps addressed concerns raised.  Press release attached.

Chapter members attended the vigil and press conference for Aristrin Waiters. Mr. Waiters was unarmed and shot twice in the back by Union City police.

12/12/11 – NAN Atlanta contacted Dr. Pitts of Morrow High School Morrow, GA. regarding a gang rape that took place inside of Morrow High School. Dr. Pitts explained that they were open to ideas and intervention strategies from NAN Atlanta. To get real viable solutions, NAN Atlanta held a youth conference, led by Mary Pat Hector on 1/3/12.  The solutions are being compiled and put into presentation format to be presented to various school systems in Metro Atlanta.

The chapter was contacted by high-profile Atlanta attorney, Lisa Cummings, who was wrongfully terminated from her position as a Public Defender for the City of Atlanta.  She was cited for meeting with clients and researching their cases. Although these duties are listed in her job description, she was cited and terminated for fulfilling this duty. We are developing a plan of action for Lisa, and she is securing an attorney.

Mary Cousins contacted us regarding her 11 year old grandson, who was handcuffed, taken to the police department, and criminally charged for a nonviolent offense that happened at school.  NAN Atlanta members will attend his second hearing on Monday, January 16th.

NAN Atlanta has been working with David Yang, a client with a discrimination suit against his former employer. (see link: David appealed his case, up to the Supreme Court level. The Supreme Court overturned his case (he won), and returned it to the original court to be re-tried.  He was given the same judge (Russell Vineyard – Magistrate Judge) and Judge Vineyard dismissed the case before it was heard for a second time. We will need help from National on this one. The chapter is also planning a protest at the Federal Bldg. regarding this case.


The chapter is currently working with state legislators and community organizations in an effort to stop the three proposed legislation that mirrors federal law. The chapter is providing immigration assistance to those family members who are in the U.S. illegally.

The chapter is presently working to raise the level of activism regarding reparations. Surprisingly there is a large segment of the black community that is adamantly demanding reparations from the U.S. government. Pursuant to the chapter election regulations, the chapter president Dr. BJ Smith is running unopposed.


The chapter was represented at the Kwanzaa Celebration at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL. The chapter is currently working with Greg Brinkley, President of the Philadelphia Chapter of NAN on the fire in Chicago that took the life of his niece Ms. McCoy.

In addition, the Justice Secretary and others of NAN Chicago are partnering with Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL and other organizations/cities nationwide on January 16. 2012. We will be rallying and protesting at the Chicago Federal reserve and Bank of America (Lasalle & Jackson, Downtown Chicago) to encourage the banks to provide one billion dollars in scholarships and student loan forgiveness. Why? Because these banks and institutions benefited greatly from our tax dollars as we “bailed them out.” Then turn around and abused the very public that saved them with outrageous fees, illegal foreclosures and oppressive lending policies.

An example of the bank fraud that has crippled America is as follows:

Bank of America-$390 million in fraud settlements and are currently settling lawsuits for $8.5 billion on $424 billion in fraudulent mortgage- backed securities.

JP Morgan Chase- $381.6 million in fraud settlements and are currently defending a RICO (federal organized crime) lawsuit in US District Courts claiming it used fraudulent documents/activities in housing foreclosures.

Citigroup-Proposed SEC settlement for fraud of $285 million. Investors lost millions of dollars while Citigroup made $160 million in profits!

Goldman Sachs– $550 million in fraud settlements…….the list goes on.

This is why we feel it’s important to march and rally against these banks on the holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


The Columbus chapter reports that their meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of the month at Ashley’s Christian Learning Center. The chapter is adding a new crisis committee.

The chapter reports that their “Jobs & Justice Rally” went very well. We are steadily supporting the local union that’s in its on-going strike. The plant has been purchased by an out of town company and the strikers are still out.

The chapter is getting geared up to partner with other progressives to ‘do the work’. They will have another voter registration/voter awareness town hall along with a NAN membership drive.

We have been in discussion with other civil rights organizations, Gideon Wall 300 and will be in touch with the NAN’s youth director to form a coalition in 2012.

There are no new cases to report at this time however the Mississippian who now lives out-of-state still does not have closure on his complaint to the local downtown main post office. The mural ‘Out of the Soil’ has brought much conversation that, “It’s History“ the same history that is being rolled back. This post office would be best suited for a Veterans Museum. Several citizens have filed complaints to the Post Master General regarding mail tapering at the post office. They have P.O. Boxes but No Mail. One of the complainers made mention that after he filed his complaint on Friday, on Monday he checked his box and he had a stack of mail. Wonder, where it came from.


The chapter is researching current news targeting ex-convicts to educate about a new law recently enforced regarding fairness in employment/hiring practices.

The chapter is also working on a project with school district entitled “Adopting a School.” Pastor Steffie will be spearheading this project. Selected persons will be responsible for specific school.

The chapter is brainstorming according to the needs of the community. Our goal is simply to be proactive in assisting and creating a public awareness to meet the needs at hand. Prayerfully it will motivate the surrounding churches to get on board.


Thirty years ago chapter president Gene Collins introduced the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday into the Nevada legislation. Thirty years later he is being honored as the Grand Marshal in celebration of the Dr. King’s legacy. Gene Collins decided to run for State Assembly District #6.

Coach Collins defeated a long term incumbent and successful businessman. Reflecting back, this was an historical moment for West Las Vegas. Mr. Collins went on to serve in the Nevada Legislature, greater responsibilities and better positioning to help his community. As an

Assembly member, Assemblyman Collins, introduce the bill to observe Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday a federal holiday in the state of Nevada. The State of Nevada did not observe Dr. King’s birthday, and surely there were a lot of other great efforts.

Mr. Collins was involved in establishing the first business incubator in historical West Las Vegas. During this period, he was actively involved in passing the City of Las Vegas redevelopment plan, first black president of the Sara Allen Credit Union and advocated on the committee for the construction of West Las Vegas Library. Through his activism, along with Rev. Sharpton he fought against one of Nevada gaming giants the MGM Resorts International. Through his courageous efforts as a leader, he held MGM Resorts accountable for not extending service contracts to minority own businesses. As a result of this, in 2009, MGM Resorts was the only company based in Nevada to be named the Diversity Inc., Top 50 Companies for Diversity. In 2005, Terri Lanni, former chairman and chief executive officer of MGM, personally acknowledged Mr. Collins for his efforts in bringing attention to this matter of business disparity within the MGM.

For more information:


The chapter had a rally and protest on January 5, 2012 at the Morehouse Parish school board for the removal of Superintendent Tom Thrower.


A Meeting of the PNAN Election Commissioners was held on Saturday, 1/07/2012 at 12 noon – 2 pm. The Candidates Debate/Forum will occur on Tuesday, 02/14/2012. Deadline for receipt of bios from those planning to seek office is Saturday, 01/14/2012

A meeting of PNAN Political Action Committee meeting was held on Saturday, 01/07/2012 at 2:00 pm lead by Brother Gerald Pilgrim, Director. Scheduled is upcoming meeting with State Rep. Ronald G. Waters regarding collaboration with PNAN around Voter Registration/Education Rallies focusing on voter identification requirements and suppression attempts. This strategy will seek to involve the Black Clergy/Churches and other like-minded organizations.

The chapter participated in Brady Anti-Violence Vigil – 01/08/2012 in collaboration with other Anti-violence groups, i.e. Mothers-in-Charge, Ceasefire, etc. on Sunday, January 8, 2012.

The chapter participated in the Pernell Family Strategy meeting on Sunday, January 8, 2012.

Next step, back to the City Council meeting.


The chapter reports that they have successfully launched and had a great response to:
NANSYRACUSE – The online channel of the Syracuse Chapter of The National Action Network – was officially launched on January 8th, 2012.

The channel link:

Visit the channel 24/7 for videos of special events, highlights of meetings and WebCasts. You can also join the chapter in the chatroom or via Social Stream ( Facebook or Twitter ). Please subscribe to this channel – by clicking Join Crowd above the video – to receive NANSYRACUSE updates! Also, check out the chapter on Facebook.