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Jacquie Taliaferro, LaHitz Media CEO
Commentary For Immediate Release
November 24, 2013
"Times They Are A Changing"The NAACP, like many organizations is going through a change to keep up with these rapidly changing times. National President Ben Jealous is moving on at the end of the year and the search for a new president has begun.
Here in San Francisco, our NAACP is facing a need for great change. At the recent Freedom Fund Gala, it was very clear that change is in the air. The evening was a great mix of entertainment and food for thought with music icon Pete Escovedo as entertainment and my old BET mate, Tavis Smiley as keynote speaker. The honorees were: A Philip Randolph Institute (SF NAACP Presidential Medal Of Honor Award)
Tavis Smiley addresses SF NAACP Freedom Fund Gala.Photo Courtesy of Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications
Publishers of the San Francisco BayView Newspaper, Dr. Willie And Mrs. Ratcliff (Sf Naacp Frederick Douglass North Star Award), Rev. Cecil Williams,(SF NAACP Bayard Rustin Award), Belva Davis (SF NAACP Ida B. Wells Award), Dr. Caesar Churchwell (SF NAACP Advocacy Award), Roberto Y. Hernandez ( SF NAACP Community Award), and Mohammed Nuru, (SF NAACP Public Service Award).It was great to see my nominees Mary and Willie Ratcliff, publishers of the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper, Roberto Hernandez of San Francisco Carnaval and a community activist for years who is now at the forefront to "Stop Mission Evictions Now," and Dr. Caesar Churchwell, a community leader who has given via his dentist practice and in so many other ways, all made it through the vetting process to receive their due respect. These four people have been in the forefront of Media-Arts & Entertainment, plus community activism for over two decades.
Dr. Churchwell recently retired from his dental practice however, he is still active in the community. Concerned about the lack of access for Blacks in the Arts, he set up a meeting with the San Francisco Film Commission's Executive Director Susannah Greason Robbins for Kevin Epps, Jackie Wright, and myself to map out more opportunities for the development of the "Black Film" and media industry in San Francisco.
With all of the cut backs in the Arts, entrepreneur and artist, Roberto Hernandez, has carved out a niche in the Bay Area that speaks to artistic excellence coupled with passion for community. He recently hosted the ground breaking of the new Mexican Museum. He's involved with too many projects to name, so I will talk about the one we are involved with, S.F. Carnaval. Roberto was the driving force making Carnaval 2013 happen when it was in serious danger of demise. It's the sign of the times, both Juneteenth and Carnaval, the signature Black and Brown events are barely surviving while the Irish, Chinese, Gay, Union Street, Outside Lands and Stern Gove street fairs and festivals are all doing well.
Willie & Mary Ratcliff have been on the media cutting edge since buying the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper. They have twice won the National Newspaper of the Year Award presented by the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
Keynote speaker of the evening, Tavis Smiley was engaging. I remember the occasion at BET when he asked President Bob Johnson "why would you sale BET?" Smiley's thinking was close to mine, a vibrant media outlet is worth more than money. However, it does take money to run a company and BET ran into the same block as Essence and Motown which are also no longer Black-owned, "DISTRIBUTION."
The day we announced that Tavis was going to be our guest speaker at the NAACP gala, because of his criticism of President Obama, people started asking "why him?" The night of the gala, Tavis addressed the elephant in the room head on. "If you think I voted for John McCain please put down the crack pipe." He also pointed out that President Obama is not a dictator or above criticism. He told the audience that he supports "Our President," however he has yet to meet with the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) and he pointed out Obama's poor record on Black economic issues. As Smiley pointed out those two main points he also talked about the backlash against African Americans because of the Black President. The theme for the evening was quite clear, everyone should be held accountable and leadership unchallenged is pathway to mediocrity at best and ultimately destruction.
(As a sidebar, President Obama will be at the SF JAZZ Center on Monday, November 25 for a fund raiser and the Betty Ong Recreation Center in Chinatown to talk about immigration reform. Near his all time low approval rating, It will be the President's ninth visit to the Bay Area over a two year period).
The President's administration is not the only one experiencing a low approval rating, here in San Francisco, the NAACP leadership has grown old and is stuck in the '60's. It is time for a change. It's time to embrace all ages and changing ideas that are based on the strong fundamental foundation of social justice. The wisdom of age cannot be forgotten, nor the vigor of youth and new vision ignored.
There are many subtleties to having a party or a gala. Some of the most strategic and world-changing ideas have resulted from connections made at parties and galas through the centuries. My company's contact with the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers and the Warriors to attend this year's gala was for a purpose. As former Ambassador Andrew Young pointed out in an interview last October (World Series Month), sports has been an avenue to level the playing field in society.This is one of the reasons we started LSN (LaHitz Sports Network) to cover world sports. The playing field still needs to be leveled although there is a Black President. You'll be able to see LSN videos and stories in the San Francisco Bayview, LaHitz and other media partners.
By A. Jacquie Taliaferro,SF NAACP Communications ChairSF FilmmakerSan Francisco Native
Other Articles by A. Jacquie Taliaferro:LaHitz Sports NetworkAmerica's Cup Overflows $1 Billion or More
Martin, Money and Movieshttp://sfbayview.com/2013/
martin-money-and-movies- django-and-lincoln-remind-us- reparations-should-not-be- gone-with-the-wind/
The 56th San Francisco International Film Festival kicks offand runs though May 9, 2013. With over 80 films from around the world you would be world's toughest critic not to like at least three films. See what A. Jacquie Taliaferro has to say about one of the longest running festivals in the United States of America.