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The Voice of the Black Community

Opinion

Why NAACP matters and we should support local chapters
Uplift and celebrate activism that works
 
Published Thursday, September 24, 2020 7:00 pm
by Tina Katsanos

I am a mother, an educator, and an environmental activist. I became involved in activism in 2010 after the birth of son.

Prior to that, I always used my classroom as a space to educate students about environmental degradation, climate change and how the peoples impacted the most are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. As soon as I held my son after a natural delivery, the excruciating pain I endured immediately dissolved. The epiphany I experienced immediately after his birth was life-changing. I realized that my child belongs to the world and all children belong to me, meaning that as a mother I have a responsibility to uplift all children – that is when I decided to take it to the streets, mostly as someone who supports the movement. I did not become an organizer until 2018 after I trained with The Climate Reality Project.

The NAACP Charlotte Branch is holding elections. The NAACP is an invaluable 111-year-old organization that has secured civil rights for BIPOC folk and white women. A common misconception is that environmentalism is a white issue for nature hobbyist that want to save polar bears. The national NAACP has an Environmental and Climate Justice program. As stated on their website: “Environmental injustices, including climate change, have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world.”

Support of the NAACP and its leadership matters and that means our local chapters must be supported. Corine Mack is currently seeking re-election and I would like to share why I support Rev. Mack's re-election and would encourage you all to support her by joining the Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter

I first heard Corine Mack speak at a rally on environmental injustices about 10 years ago. I personally met Corine Mack at a City of Charlotte public forum hearing at the beginning of 2019. She was there to support keeping the environmental committee intact. I remember her charm coupled with a formidable spirit. I again got speak with her at a Climate Reality Project Charlotte Chapter meeting. She spoke passionately about environmental justice and spoke to a largely white audience about how we can get better involved with doing the work.

I kept seeing her speak at climate change rallies and press conferences such as the  NC Utilities Commission hearings about Duke Energy rate hikes and a whole host of other environmental justice events. I got to know her better when she graciously took on the leadership role as the Climate Reality Project's community engagement leader. She is busy but she takes time to share her wisdom and expertise in racial inequities and how they manifests through environmental racism. This has been invaluable to our Charlotte Chapter and the broader Charlotte communities. As the chair of the CRP, I am humbled by her.

Alongside other community organizers, Corine Mack has been an instrumental leader with Black Lives Matter, especially this summer. The other environmental organizations that I work with have been helping her organize and we have shown up in support of her leadership. Many of us understand Corine as a coalition builder that does her best to bring us together and to show by her example how crucial it is for white folk to support Black Lives Matter.

I will never forget a BLM event the NAACP, with Corine at the helm, was leading. After the speakers, we were hit by a rain bomb. I remember thinking “I guess it’s over now.” Nope, Corine still led us through the torrential downpour on a march from the Government Center to one of the downtown parks. More recently, another NAACP BLM rally was again hit by rain. She told me that we would march until we could no longer march. At the Resist the RNC rally, where she eloquently spoke, I saw her quickly mobilize and run away from a news interview she was engaged in - she did this to help a young man that had been pepper-sprayed by the police, an act which put her into contact with the poison that had been unleashed by the police.

Perhaps the aspect of her leadership that I most admire is her eagerness to mentor the youth of our communities. This is because I, too, realize how vital this is for our future. I have often said to my elected leaders that it is time for us old folks to do better with regard to making space the decision-making tables, after all it is their futures that are most threatened by climate change.

Please stand with me in support of my mentor, Corine Mack.

Tina Katsanos is chair of the Climate Reality Project chapter. 

 

Comments

Not sure why the woman's race is an issue. She is speaking about how Reverend Mack has garnered the support of environmental activists during the BLM events. Isn't that a good thing? And who cares about Kojo anymore? He is not with the Charlotte NAACP anymore. How is getting environmental groups to support the Charlotte NAACP and BLM a regression? Sounds like Reverend Mack is building bridges, not sowing division. #returnofthemack
Posted on October 5, 2020
 
As a God fearing man i have respect and love for all nationalities. My concern is why is a white woman that has never been part of the NAACP posting an opinion in a sectoon of the "Voices of the Black Community." This sounds like infiltration. Kojo best said it when he stated that a change is needed with the local NAACP.
Posted on September 25, 2020
 
Everyone has a right to their opinion and to support whomever they decide to support. Opinoon and facts are 2 different things. I was a member of the NAACP in 2017 and served on the Labor Committee and Political Act I'll on Committee. However, I like many others decided that the constant negativity and berating of others was not worth me spending money every year for membership. There is a reason that only 20 members typically s hi ow up for the monthly meetings. Last night's meeting had a decent turnout of about 50 or so people. Many came due to the upcoming elections and witnessed the reason that change is needed. Former Branch President Kojo Nantambu endorsed Corine Mack in 2015. After witnessing the branch regress over the past 5 years he recently issued his "Statement For Change" calling for new leadership.
AlthougbWhy is this? Why has our branch regressed?
Posted on September 25, 2020
 

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