Coalition for African-American Organizations reactivates

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Coalition for African-American Organizations announced its reactivation Saturday after a couple of years of inactivity.
The organization formed in 2004 when it sued the city of Tupelo over its at-large system on the City Council. The city eliminated the at-large seats, and the 2009 election was the first without the positions and also featured newly drawn district lines.
After the victory, the group became inactive. However, spokesman Kenneth Mayfield said some recent issues in the city prompted leaders to reactivate the coalition.
“This coalition was formed several years ago to deal with problems that were affecting the black community in Lee County,” said Mayfield. “Now new issues have come up, which is prompting us to once again reactivate. This coalition is meant to be a way for dialogue to be exchanged between our leaders and the people. We want to get things done by talking about them so we won’t have to resort to things we had to do many years ago.”
Some of the issues of concern for the coalition are the treatment of newly rehired Deputy Police Chief Robert Hall in Tupelo, the lack of support Justice Court Judge Ricky Thompson is receiving for drug court and the treatment of inmates in the Lee County Detention Center, according to Mayfield.
“We want people to know we fully support Robert Hall and commend the mayor, Chief Tony Carleton and the council members who voted for Robert for doing the right thing,” said Mayfield. “But there are members of the board who have publicly spoken negatively about him and we feel this is not helping the city to improve. We need to work as one city to improve things and everyone isn’t doing that.”
Mayfield said the coalition is on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting. The group will present and discuss these issue and more with the council. They also will meet with the Lee County Board of Supervisors.
The organization is made up of several smaller organizations like the Alcorn State Alumni Association, Coalition for Change, Committee for King, Lee County Chapter of the NAACP and many others.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.