First and foremost, I want to thank Almighty God for all things. I was able to reflect on my candidacy for the office of president for the St. Petersburg branch of the NAACP. We were able to excite, galvanized and included a wide spectrum of residents who are concerned about education, elderly care, affordable housing, entrepreneurial opportunities, gentrification, fairness in the electoral process, systemic racism, homophobia, fair employment practices, social justice and all sorts of other community concerns and societal ills.
We put together a diverse coalition of multiplicity that crossed racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, and religious lines and we formed a unified table of brotherhood of stakeholders from various organizations, and elected officials who genuinely love our city, and that could get the job done by working together. True progress can happen no other way. There was an excitable buzz around what a community could and should be.
Though I was not successful in my personal bid to lead the local NAACP chapter, it is undeniable that the city of St. Petersburg is continuing to develop a unified table of brotherhood to confront, combat, and resolve issues that threaten this city, this county, this state, this nation, and this world. It begins with each of us being willing to come together and work together.
Isolation and the politics of dragging people down will not produce any serious nor long lasting results and successful solutions. Unfortunately, the local chapter will continue on this losing and downward path. But there are emerging voices of solidified efforts of resolve who plan to crash the party of negativity and the “do nothing mean spirited” politics and work together to get the job done. Those who are not waiting any longer.
This local chapter has assured its continued demise towards irrelevancy and powerlessness as an agent of petty attacks. A few very intelligent people advised me not to align my leadership gifts with an antiquated and failed policy driven NAACP.
I was advised that my gifts could be utilized elsewhere in meaningful and evolved endeavors and organizations, but I thought the best of the NAACP and those local chapters, and I wanted to be a part of its resurgence back towards renewed respectability and restored relevancy. But the organization appears to be beyond that, and nationwide membership continues to decline. Most people are no longer interested, especially our young people, in failed and outdated tactics, policies, solutions and procedures.
I plan to continue my community leadership with groups and other community leaders that are already on the scene and are making positive things happen for all people every day. Groups and leaders such Ashley Green and the Dream Defenders, Nadine Smith and Equality Florida, Gypsy Gallardo and ONE Community, Lucinda Johnston and Chart 411, Reading In The Wild Program, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Also, Color of Change, the nation’s largest online civil rights organization building grassroots political power for African Americans and working for social change for all people, Race Forward, a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism, Rev. Watson Haynes and the Urban League, the Black Radical Congress and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
We cannot continue to support failed and isolated leadership as the world passes us by. There is much work to be done and networking, collaboration and unity is the only way to accomplish that work. Anything less is failed business as usual and the times are too critical for that.
Rev. Dr. G. Gregg Murray
Senior Pastor, Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church