LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A bombshell lead article splashed across the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle this morning revealed that president of the California NAACP, Alice Huffman, has once again taken money to side with big businesses harming Black communities in a major ballot measure fight, California’s Proposition 10. The long list of social justice organizations supporting Prop 10, which will allow communities to urgently address California’s housing-affordability and homeless crises by limiting rent increases, includes the other major Black legacy civil rights organizations. California NAACP is an outlier organization opposed to Prop 10, with Huffman’s consulting firm, AC Public Affairs, being paid $25,000 a month to direct a $800,000 African American voter outreach campaign.
In the San Francisco Chronicle article, Huffman said she was approached by two campaigns opposing Prop 10. When explaining why she chose the one she did, she said, “I took the highest bidder on the ‘no’ side, to be honest. I don’t make any apologies.”
According to the article, Huffman, in the past, has taken money from tobacco giant Philip Morris and pharmaceutical companies, industries which have gouged and lied to consumers much like the Wall Street corporations funding No on 10 are doing to renters.
Christina Livingston, an African-American young professional, the State Director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and one of the three authors of Yes on 10 said, “As a Black woman who was actually displaced from Oakland, it saddens me to see an organization I grew up respecting being so misused.” ACCE along with the Eviction Defense Network and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are the three proponents of the Proposition 10 initiative.
Livingston added, “While I am disappointed by the revelations regarding California NAACP, I’m encouraged to know that other legacy Black civil rights organizations like the Urban League, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and National Action Network have further affirmed their commitment to this effort by endorsing Yes on 10.”
Huffman’s actions are particularly egregious in that the Prop 10 campaign, led by African Americans, will help Blacks who struggle to pay skyrocketing rents that corporate landlords and Wall Street speculators profit from. According to a report by the state Department of Housing and Community Development Black and Latinx households are more likely to be rent-burdened, spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent. In some areas, like South Los Angeles’ historic Black Crenshaw community, the large majority of tenants spend over 50% of their income in rent.
Damien Goodmon, a leader of the anti-displacement organization in South Los Angeles Crenshaw Subway Coalition, and the campaign director of Yes on 10 said: “In the Chronicle article, Alice Huffman claims that the California NAACP executive board met in May to vote to oppose Prop 10. I’ve attended California NAACP events for years. As we have with other Black organization leaders, I and others on the campaign reached out to Ms. Huffman well before May to ask for time to discuss Prop 10 and its direct benefit to Black renters and communities. She never called to invite Yes on 10 to present at a May meeting or any other time, or ask for any information. I checked in with some other prominent Black supporters of Yes on 10 and she didn’t reach out to them either. One must legitimately question the process Ms. Huffman did or did not engage in.”
Rev. Kelvin Sauls, former Senior Pastor of the historic Holman United Methodist Church, a Los Angeles Housing Services Authority Commissioner and the Faith Community Organizer for Yes on 10 said, “We hope that the California NAACP will move swiftly to reverse their position, and return the dirty money from the corporate landlords who made their obscene profits from pushing predatory lending on Black seniors, foreclosing on Black homes, and raising the rents on struggling Black tenants. The integrity with advancement and credibility in the achievement in equality of the revered NAACP is on the line.”
At a recent press conference in South Los Angeles, Black civil rights organizations and housing justice organizations leaders gathered to discuss the importance of passing Proposition 10 for Black communities. Attendees included Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, retired California Assemblymember Mike Davis, retired Los Angeles Councilmember Robert Farrell, Los Angeles Urban League President Michael Lawson, Southern Christian Leadership Conference-Greater Southern California President Rev. William D. Smart Jr., National Action Network-Los Angeles’ Rev. Jonathan Moseley, AFSCME 3090 Past President Alice Goff, Black Community Clergy & Labor Alliance Executive Board Member Jackie Ryan, Black Women for Wellness Executive Director Janette Robinson-Flint, Church Without Walls Pastor Cue Jn-Marie, Fannie Lou Hamer Institute Director Akili, Holman United Methodist Church Rev. Oliver Bouie, Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment, LA CAN Executive Director Pete White, Los Angeles Worker Center’s Malcolm Harris, and Poor People’s Campaign & McCarty Memorial Church Pastor Eddie Anderson.
Other organizations and leaders that support Prop. 10 are the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (led by Ron Daniels), Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives (led by Larry Aubry), African-American Cultural Center (led by Dr. Maulana Karenga), Brotherhood Crusade (led by Charisse Bremond-Weaver), California Calls (led by Anthony Thigpenn), Dellums Institute for Social Justice, People of Color Sustainable Housing Network, PICO California (co-led by Rev. Ben McBride), PolicyLink (led by Angela Glover), SCOPE (led by Gloria Walton), Urban League of San Diego County, Ward AME Church Pastor John Cager, Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases, Rev. James Lawson and Black Lives Matter Organizer Melina Abdullah.
Yes on 10 is supported by a large and growing coalition of civil rights organizations, housing justice organizations, labor including the California Labor Federation and the California Democratic Party.