2008-10-24 / Community

NAACP Question Remains: Is Pastor Evans A Member?

By Howard Schwach

The battle over leadership of the Far Rockaway chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) continues hot and heavy. Nominations were planned for Thursday evening, but the results were not known as of press time.

The battle centers on a single question that may well decide the election: is Pastor Barrielevia Evans a member of the organization in good standing, which would qualify him to run for the top office.

Evans told The Wave this week that he is a member in good standing, and has been since December of 2007.

"I was at the NAACP's annual dinner that night, a guest of my boss, when Vice President Elaine Short announced that anybody who was at the dinner was automatically a member of the local organization," Evans said. "I was at the dinner, so I am a member beginning on that night."

While Short could not be contacted for confirmation, a longtime NAACP member, who asked not to be named because she did not want to take part in the controversy, told The Wave that Short did indeed say that, but that those who wanted to become members then had to fill out membership request forms.

It is not clear whether Evans filled out such a form and he was not available for comment at press time.

Ed Williams, the present NAACP president, who is running for reelection, does not believe that attending the dinner made Evans an automatic member, however.

"Pastor Evans was not a member in good standing on April 1 of this year," Williams said earlier this month. "The national constitution says that, in order to run for an office, a person must be a member in good standing on that date, and Evans was not."

As proof that he is a member, Evans showed Wave staffers a meeting agenda dated October 9, 2008, that he received in the mail.

"Why would they send me a meeting agenda if I were not a member," he asked.

"This is not against Ed Williams," Evans added. "A community organization such as the NAACP should be inclusive and it is not. I have a right to be a nominee for the presidency and that belief was legitimized at that dinner by Elaine Short. Even though my employer actually bought the ticket, I was the ticket holder and therefore an automatic member of the organization. I deserve to run for the office."

"The good things that are happening nationally have to be happening locally," Evans said. "It's time for a change and I want to be part of that change."

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