A crowd of armed, Confederate flag-waving white supremacists gathered outside the Houston NAACP headquarters Sunday to denounce the civil rights organization’s failure to condemn Black Lives Matter and hold “their people” accountable.
However, the White Lives Matter activists made the mistake of assuming that the NAACP and Black Lives Matter: Houston had a relationship to begin with.
According to the Houston Press, several activists in the area said no such relationship exists between the two organizations. Some local Black Lives Matter activists are actually worried they don’t have the full support of the Houston NAACP.
In a blog post titled “Who Does the Houston NAACP Really Represent?,” BLM: Houston organizer Ashton P. Woods blasted the civil rights organization for sending several e-mails regarding the White Lives Matter rally, encouraging people to donate and join their local NAACP chapter to fight back against the white supremacists.
“It’s clear that our community and our values remain under attack,” the e-mail read. “The NAACP remains steadfast in the belief that Black lives do indeed matter.”
“As an organization, we are doing as much as we can to keep the fight for justice going on our community,” it continued. “We need YOU! We are stronger together.”
For Woods, the NAACP’s message was problematic. While it claims to value Black lives, the BLM organizer says the civil rights group has remained largely silent on high-profile incidents of police brutality (Sandra Bland, Jordan Baker, Alva Braziel, etc.).
“Not only that, what about the lack of support from them on issues of systemic and institutional racism?,” Woods wrote. “It is very clear that they push respectability politics and profit over justice in Houston while, the criminal justice system spares police officers due punishment and make racist attempts to institute gang injunctions.”
Woods also criticized the organization for barely mentioning the significance of the movement in its e-mail blast.
“You gave the [Black Lives Matter] movement one sentence in a paragraph of four sentences, when this protest was a response to said movement,” he wrote. “If you want to raise money off of the backs of activists that you generally claim to have no association with, make sure you donate to those on the ground, doing actual work!”
This isn’t the first time there has been tension between BLM: Houston and the Houston branch of the NAACP. According to the Houston Press, BLM and other organizations protested the civil rights organization back in February following its decision to honor Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson for her marijuana diversion program. Activists felt Anderson didn’t deserve the award, however, as Harris County was known for disproportionately arresting and detaining minority citizens.
During a press conference Sunday, NAACP Houston President Dr. James Douglas made an effort to clarify the organization’s stance with BLM: Houston.
“We’ve always been in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Douglas said. “We disagree with the idea that this is a violent movement, that this is a racist movement. I don’t know if you’ve seen Black Lives Matter’s protests, but all the people at those protests are not African-American. There’s been whites, there’s been Hispanics, there’s been Asians. So Black Lives Matter has been a multi-racial, multi-cultural movement.”
Though vague, his explanation seemed to give outright support to the social justice movement. Now BLM: Houston activists are hoping those words will turn into action.
“…We’re screaming Black Lives Matter, but we can’t seem to get the NAACP to work with us,” said activist Shere Dore. “So that’s what’s really disturbing at this point.”