ANDERSON — The newly elected president of the local branch of the NAACP said the organization is looking to revive interest in two agreements with Anderson.
Larry McClendon on Sunday said the NAACP signed the Fair Share agreement with the city in 1993.
He said the agreement is meant to let minorities get a fair share of contracts the city awards.
“It was supposed to be transparent with the NAACP,” McClendon said. “It dealt with contracts and the promotion of Blacks on the police and fire departments and other city departments.”
Tamie Dixon-Tatum, director of the Anderson Civil and Human Rights office, said Tuesday she approached the NAACP concerning the Fair Share agreement.
“They were working on national issues at the time,” she said. “Right now we need to update the ordinance so we can get things implemented.”
Dixon-Tatum said the focus of the ordinance was minority owned businesses.
“It needs more structure,” she said. “I have to identify who is responsible for it to move forward.”
The City Council, McClendon said, had approved an ordinance establishing a Commission for African American Males, originally commissioned in December 1998 to analyze how Black men are at an disadvantage and to develop solutions.
But, according to commission member James Coker, the commission did not achieve much because of internal conflicts, loss of interest and the sheer size.
The original commission, which stopped meeting in 2003, had 23 members, according to former commission member Floyd Edwards.
During the commission’s first meeting since its recommissioning in March 2009, the commissioners asked the community to openly discuss how they can improve education for and prevent incarceration of Black men in Anderson.
The commission has been inactive for more than a decade.
Dixon-Tatum said it has been inactive for several years.
“I tried to build momentum several years ago, but then COVID hit which knocked out any activities in 2020 and 2021,” she said.
“Everybody knows we have a problem,” McClendon said. “Gun violence and drug abuse is crazy. We need help. We want to work with the city, but the funding has to come from the city.”
McClendon said resources are needed to encourage young Black people to start their own businesses.
“There needs to be money put into the commission to start after-school programs,” he said.
McClendon said he has the support of Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr., Anderson Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Department and Juvenile Court Judge Steve Koester.
“Survival trumps everything,” he said of young men earning money on the streets. “They’re working on the streets to make a few dollars to help pay rent and purchase essentials.”
McClendon said a local program has been started, but it needs financial resources.
“The NAACP is power,” he said. “There are lawsuits we can bring to obtain justice in our community.”
McClendon said the organization wants to unite all members of the community to help elevate the poor people of all races in the city.
“We need the whole community to be involved in the NAACP,” he said. “We’re dealing with culture. We’re so far behind, we can’t catch up.”