As has been reported in other news outlets, King claims his group has been excluded from participating in the city's Martin Luther King Jr. Day memorial event, specifically the ceremony prior to the MLK march on Jan. 16.
"This year he wanted to insist on being in the program and the program was already put together. He came at the last minute," said Rev. Norwood Thompson, chairman of the MLK Celebration Commission. "Hopefully, next year, we can have much more inclusiveness of everybody."
King, however, is claiming that statement is false. In fact, King claims in a press release, his organization had made its first request in November and continued to follow-up until late December, when, says King, there was still an open spot on the program.
The email from King includes a document, purported to be the MLK planning commission's Dec. 28 agenda with the memorial's program as of that date. Under the "Reflections" part of the event, the program says "TBD" (generally and presumably in this case meaning "to be determined"). King also attached an email to Thompson requesting NAACP involvement.
"What the documents don’t show is that since November 12, 2011, Rev. Thompson had requested the participation of the NAACP and had assured the community that the NAACP would have meaningful participation in the MLK events. The documents don’t show that on December 9, 2011, Rev. Thompson assured the NAACP that the NAACP would have meaningful participation in the MLK events," King's press release says.
Gambit reached out to Thompson for comment on King's allegations. In an emailed response, Thompson wrote that he has "great respect for the NAACP" and is a member himself.
"I have extended to Mr. King to Stand with me on this day to show our mutual respect for united and brotherhood," Thompson wrote.
Thompson did not respond to King's allegations.
(NAACP press release and [what King claims is the] Dec. 28 MLK program after jump)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2012
During a press conference last week, Mayor Landrieu and members of the MLK Holiday
Planning Commission (“Commission”) made a false statement regarding the New Orleans Branch NAACP (“NAACP”). They stated that the NAACP was being denied participation in the opening ceremony for the January 16, 2012, march because the NAACP did not make a timely request to participate. Attached are documents that prove the falsity of that statement. Those documents show that on December 28, 2012, the program for the opening ceremony had not been finalized. The documents further show that the draft program for the opening ceremony indicated the Rabbi had not been confirmed and that there was an open space for a speaker during the “Reflections” portion of the ceremony. That open space is listed as “TBD” (To Be Determined). The documents further show that at the December 28, 2012, Commission meeting, the NAACP made a formal request to be listed on the program of the opening ceremony. The documents further show that on December 28, 2012, a formal written request was e-mailed to Rev. Thompson by the NAACP confirming the participation request.
What the documents don’t show is that since November 12, 2011, Rev. Thompson had requested the participation of the NAACP and had assured the community that the NAACP would have meaningful participation in the MLK events. The documents don’t show that on December 9, 2011, Rev. Thompson assured the NAACP that the NAACP would have meaningful participation in the MLK events. The documents don’t show that the NAACP has been told, unofficially, that the NAACP would not be allowed to participate because the Mayor didn’t want the NAACP to participate due to the NAACP’s past positions related to some of the administration’s policies and actions.
The documents from King's email:
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