Local NAACP election postponed amid concerns

Local NAACP election postponed amid concerns
November 20
00:00 2014

Elections that will determine the leaders of the Winston-Salem Branch of the NAACP have been postponed until state NAACP can be on hand to monitor the process.

Elections were slated to be held Tuesday, with Issac “Ike” Howard challenging S. Wayne Patterson for the presidency.

Patterson, an attorney who has been president since 2010, applauded the decision to delay the vote. He implied that bylaws and procedures were not being adhered to, but would not elaborate or say by whom.
“I had the (board) chair call both the state and national offices to tell them,” he said. “I also felt that it was in my best interest to have someone come in to coordinate the election so I would not be accused of rigging it.”

There was to be a six-hour window Tuesday during which local NAACP members in good-standing could stop by chapter headquarters on Oak Ridge Drive to vote for officers and executive committee members. Howard said he knew nothing of the postponement until he arrived at the NAACP office Tuesday. He was met by a postponement sign on the door.

Howard is a well-known community advocate. A city native, he was a star athlete at Carver High School before going on to play at the University of Colorado and with the Dallas Cowboys.

After his football glory days, he came back home to work as the senior events coordinator at the Benton Convention Center and spent a lot of time coaching Pee Wee league football. He has also been an ardent supporter of his alma mater. He is the former head of the Carver Alumni Association and was one of the loudest voices speaking against threats to close Carver.

Howard was adamant that he wasn’t running against Patterson – whom he called his protege – but running on his own merits.

“I’m running on visibility, dependability and accountability,” he said. “The same way that I would do if I was making a play in the game. I’m going to be visible on the field, dependable during the play and accountable for the play. It’s the same if I were to become president.”

Howard said he feels he has been called to lead the organization. That call, he said, grew louder when local NAACP members approached him about running.

“I think they asked me because I’m community-based and -oriented. They know that I will work on improving the community,” Howard said. “We need people who are going to be focused on economics, bringing jobs to the area and education. We should be out there getting those things for our communities.”

Patterson is also a city native and serves as legal council for the state NAACP. He grew up in public housing and defied the odds by attending college and then earning a law degree.

The incumbent said his record speaks for itself and that under his leadership, membership has increased and the organization has received funds from the city to renovate its headquarters – a former city rec center.

Patterson said once renovation is complete, he plans to have a computer lab, and mentoring and after school programs for the community.

“I have the leadership skills, the know how and the enthusiasm to lead the organization forward. I understand the vision of the agency statewide,” Patterson said. “I’m not just a figure head or doing this to buff up my resume; I am working to be the voice of the people.”

As of press time, a new date had not been set for election.

For more information, contact the local branch at 336-767-3470.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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