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Monday, January 14, 2008

Justice Taney, MLK Day and No Nooses Act HB 80 Hearing on January 16

Guy Djoken

Last Thursday, a group of prominent residents met with Mayor Jeff Holtzinger to address the issue of the Justcice Taney bust in front of the City Hall. The Meeting was a significant shift in the way things have been done in the county in the past. For once, an issue of a serious consequence affecting the lives of minority was being addressed in a setting that allowed them to have a say. To this, I will like to commend Mayor Holtzinger for laying down the foundation that we hope will change the way elected officials in the county interact with the minority population. The broker of this truce was no other than Mr. Kevin Lollar who worked tirelessly to bring a compromise between those of us who wanted the bust removed and those advocating the statut quo.

The agreement by all to settle for a plaque that will add contrast to the Taney bust was reluctantly accepted by all when the mayor made it clear that he was committed to something that was going to big enough to add a real presence to the plaza and provide a meaningful for the community to heal and move forward. The message to appear in the plaque portraying Mr. Dred Scott is still ben worked on by key members of the group. The idea of unveiling the plaque at special event marking a new beginning for Frederick was also welcomed by all involved and I look forward for that memorable day.

As we concluded the meeting, it was gratifying to learn that, Delegate Saqib Ali introduced, along with Delegate Herman Taylor, a new bill which seeks to establish a tough new law to combat Racial Intimidation in Maryland. You can read a more in-depth discussion of this bill by visiting The No Nooses Act Bill hearing will be held on next January 16, 2008 at 1pm in the House Judiciary Committee. We need your help to wage an effective campaign in support of this important bill. I would like to request that your organization send a representativ e to testify at the hearing and, if at all possible, email me a copy of your written testimony as soon as possible so we may distribute it.

The NAACP is calling for local groups and organizations to join us for the MLK Day of Service as we gear up for this second edition scheduled for Monday, January 21st, 2008. The Day will start by gathering elected officials and all participants at Frederick City Youth Center located at 413 Burck St. for an official kick-off of the festivities from 9:00 to 10 AM.

A Voter Registration Drive will follow throughout the day in collaboration with Omega Psi Phi, Boys and Girls Club of Frederick and other local organizations. Now that 17 year olds who will be 18 by the next succeeding general election may vote in the party's primary, we will like to have an additional push to encourage those who qualify to register to do so and be a part to the selection process in the Maryland 2008 Presidential Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, February 12, 2008. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Tuesday, January 22, 2008. Voter registration applications are available at

I see no better way to honor Dr. King's legacy than getting out on MLK Day to perform some community service and jointly evaluate how far away from Dr. King Dream we are today and elaborate on a strategy to make sure that each year on this day, we get closer and closer to the Dream. Raising Mr. Dred Scott to stand tall enough to be an equal to Justice Taney who denied him that right 150 years ago, and putting an end to racial intolerance and intimidation in Maryland in the next few weeks or month will will inevitably get us closer to Dr. King Dreams a year from today.

I look forward to seeing you at the event.

Guy Djoken is President NAACP, Frederick County, Maryland Chapter

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