NAACP Fuels the Fires of Racial Tensions in DeKalb Schools

The AJC reported
in 2010, “DeKalb schools hired its attorneys based on race. DeKalb school board members admit they voted last year to spend almost $1 million more on attorneys to ensure they had a black female attorney working with them.”
Board member Gene Walker infamously said at the time, “I am a very, very race-conscious person. I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.”
Apparently not much has changed since then.
In November 2012, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm announced they would no longer represent DeKalb Schools.  John Evans, President of the NAACP DeKalb County Branch, plead before the school board this week to look past qualifications and a “straight forward bid process” and hire a “black firm”.
Evans said, “I know that realistically that in a normal straight forward bid process [black firms] won’t make it. I know we won’t make it.”  Evans went on to suggest they “massage” the process to make sure we have black representation.
Message to Mr. John Evans,
I’m saddened that instead of fighting discrimination and the disenfranchisement of African Americans, you use your position with the NAACP to fuel the fires of racial tensions in DeKalb.  Like a very wise man once said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Yours In Service,
Stan Jester
You can see the video of John’s Evans public comments on FactChecker.  Below is the transcript of his speech to the DeKalb Schools Board and Superintendent.
John Evans (President of the NAACP DeKalb County Branch)
I’m here on a mission of mercy. I know these legal services are floating around somewhere. We’ve heard the ones you had retired. We want to know where the process is. The one thing we have as a problem at the NAACP is that we can never be sure blacks are going to be represented. We want to make it clear that we are expecting that process to work.
If you know you don’t have all the ingredients, you have to do something to make it work. The makeup of this board and the makeup of this county almost demands that we have good representation from black law firms. We are not talking about who, what or where, but we are certainly talking about having some. I think you all understand what I mean.
If we don’t do it, nobody else is going to do it. If we have control and we don’t use it, nobody else is going to work it out for us. We have to take what we have and mandate that we want some black firms in that process. I know that realistically that in a normal straight forward bid process we won’t make it. I know we won’t make it. So, we’re asking that those believe in doing the right thing to make sure that the ingredient of black law firms is involved in the process.
I don’t know what you have to do. I don’t know what you’ve done to date. But that process needs to be looked at to make sure that we have representation. We can’t say it too many times that we need black representation in the legal matters of this system. I hope that you all will certainly put your minds to it, whatever you need to do to massage it.
Make sure you do that, for if you don’t, I say it will be an injustice to this district. We’ve had black representation most of the time here recently. We hope and expect you to do it again this time.

3 responses to “NAACP Fuels the Fires of Racial Tensions in DeKalb Schools

  1. WOW. How can this man get away with blatant racism. I suspect if Mr. Jester had made this remark referring to a white firm that it would be on the front page of the AJC and you would have already been ridden out of town on a rail.
    Sutherland had numerous black attorneys. How about choosing the RIGHT firm instead of a black firm.
    John Evans is a convicted felon. How does he have the chutzpah to say such an incendiary thing.

  2. Refugee from DCSS

    Let’s see if I understand this.
    The black students of DeKalb county are failing in record numbers compared with students of all races in other districts and John Evans is not only not concerned about the students’ achievement and holding the majority black school board and black superintendent (past and present) accountable, he’s grandstanding over a hypothetical black law firm, which has nothing to do with educating the black students being left behind.
    Is that what I see here?

  3. Stan Jester

    From Dr. Gene Walker to John Evans, I’m disappointed our leaders are proliferating this rhetoric.
    At a school board debate held at the DeKalb NAACP earlier this year, this was one of the questions posed to the candidates, “When the school is contracting for their services, do you feel like you have an obligation to make sure the contracting opportunity is available to all segments of the community. … Parents need to have opportunities from the school system that are putting out contracts.”
    Sunlight is the best disinfectant, if anybody is wondering why I posted this article.