[Note: As always any sample messages, letters, etc. that we provide are just that, “samples.” The samples are just what we’re sending out from this end and you are strongly encouraged to use your own judgment, voice and perspectives. Our prose, tone and approach can always be improved upon and quite frankly a good mix of perspectives is better than following our samples verbatim. We don’t do messaging for the group (nor do we aspire to) or ever speak for the group, but instead merely facilitate our members’ ability to speak at once for more power and volume. If you’re a “professional communicator” or would like to help with recruiting, research, administration, etc. shoot us a note and we’ll be happy to get you involved. There is no lack of work to be done.]
While the fact that the NAACP is “officially” on board in support of HR3149 is good news, as far as we can tell, their efforts and focus on the issue have weak at best. They alone, within the context of civil rights groups, have the membership, the organization, the clout and the resources to make HR3149 happen overnight. Our sample letter below is simply our two cents worth from our perspective. Your e-mails, letters and phone calls need to reflect YOUR perspective, not ours. However, the facts are the facts – they are NOT doing their job in proportion to the percentage of black Americans impacted by workplace credit checks. It’s not a priority for them, it hasn’t been and that has to change.
First let me thank you for your official support of HR3149: The Equal Employment for All Act. I saw the communique that went out on December 23 in support of the legislation, but haven’t seen anything since, nor do I see any recent mention on your website, nor have I heard you speak out on the issue in the media? Long before the Great Recession we’re in, “bad credit” in the African American community was 48 percent. With the outrageous unemployment numbers now in black America, what do you think the percentage is now . . . 65 maybe 70 percent? Do you think the issue of discrimination of African Americans via workplace credit checks has gone away? Are you not aware that the rate of 50+ percent of all jobs and 80+ percent of white collar jobs requiring an employment credit check is increasing at alarming rates? Did you think that one communiqué that went out during the holidays was going to get the job done?
While worthy of pride for Americans of all skin colors, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is now celebrated far too often as if it’s an end-all crowning accomplishment. Many people consider Title VII of the Act (that prohibited workplace discrimination on the basis of race and skin color) to be the top accomplishment achieved by the legislation. Except for a small percentage of black America, Title VII is now completely dead and non-existent due to the implementation of employment credit checks. While many want to minimize it as mere coincidence instead of racism and bigotry, the reality is racial inequality in the workplace is rampant. By adding a couple additional filters to credit checks (such as predominately black neighborhoods along with first and last names) and voila African Americans don’t work. The “Whites Only Need Apply” sign has simply been replaced with a “Credit Check Required for Employment” sign . . . 1963 is reality in 2010. As a result, the economic gains made by African Americans over the past several decades are eroding at a record pace. This is happening in a nation that has a black president, celebrates MLKs birthday and each year commemorates the passage of the Civil Rights Act with nostalgic fervor?
As you advocate for jobs, how is it that you think the applications of the overwhelming majority of African Americans has any chance whatsoever of passing the credit check filter? Without passage of HR3149: The Equal Employment for All Act there little if any hope of a job for most under and unemployed black Americans. It’s just a fact! If the largest civil rights group in America doesn’t focus its vast resources on passage of HR3149 then who will? Who should more than you? The answer is no one. If you don’t lead the charge then who will?
If Congress were threatening to strip out Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, you’d be sending out communiqués on a daily basis, you’d be all over the news and urging people to march in the streets just like the early 1960s. Did the baton get dropped, has black America been forgotten by the NAACP, has the red hot passion to once existed been replaced with complacency when it comes to the right to work? If African-Americans don’t even have the right to work in America, is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 worthy of wallowing in celebration and nostalgia, or instead is it not time to awaken and stop racism in the workplace via workplace credit checks?
I ask that you wake up and join the fight to pass HR3149 in order to restore Title VII to its critical role within our American society. Without the basic right to work, there is no equality in America.
[End Sample Letter]
NAACP Contact Points
Nothing short of an all out push via all channels to include, e-mail, snail mail and telephone are adequate. Push and be aggressive . . .
Benjamin T. Jealous
President and CEO, NAACP
NAACP National Headquarters
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore, MD 21215
Hilary O. Shelton – 202.463.2940
Toll Free: (877) NAACP-98