By Robert J. Hansen | OBSEREVER Staff Writer
Two members of the Greater Sacramento NAACP have had their suspensions over purported financial impropriety withdrawn, according to documents obtained by The OBSERVER.
Ken Nelson and Velma Sykes both received letters last month from the NAACP’s national branch, which issued the suspensions.
The OBSERVER reported in November that then-President Betty Williams and five other Greater Sacramento NAACP members were suspended after the branch’s annual financial report showed Williams and others may have engaged in financial impropriety benefitting their businesses.
Nelson and Sykes both told The OBSERVER their suspensions should have never happened.
“There was no reason to suspend my membership considering I wasn’t an officer of the branch at the time,” Nelson said in a phone interview.
“It was found that there wasn’t any wrongdoing,” Sykes said. “They suspended me for something I didn’t do.”
Nelson said the suspension hurt him given how long he has served the Sacramento NAACP. Those who serve the NAACP do so as volunteers.
“To find myself in this predicament has been a bitter pill to swallow,” Nelson said.
The four other members, including Williams, remain suspended and under investigation by the national NAACP, which did not respond to several attempts at contact.
RELATED: Sac NAACP President, Five Members Suspended For Alleged Financial Misdeeds
Ardell Harrison, acting president of the Greater Sacramento NAACP, said in a statement that the national office cannot share information about the investigation as a protection of the privacy and due process rights of those suspended and being investigated.
“Any information given to the media about an investigation would come either from those being investigated or someone with knowledge who is providing unauthorized information to the media,” Harrison said in the statement.
Harrison clarified that the organization continues its century-old commitment to its vision, mission and values despite recent reports.
“Many were made aware of an ongoing investigation of six suspended executive committee members. In an attempt to preserve our stated stance on justice, the Sacramento branch would like to share that we uphold the following principles while clarifying misinformation,” Harrison said in the statement. “We envision an inclusive community rooted in liberation where all persons can exercise their civil and human rights without discrimination.”
Harrison said there have been implications and framing by some media that the Sacramento branch is nonoperational.
“Not only does the Sacramento branch continue to operate and provide much-needed services to our community, but it is counterproductive and undermines our entire Sacramento Region to spotlight an NAACP controversy without also expressly preserving the public good that the services and community-building opportunities provide,” Harrison said.
Harrison said among the NAACP’s consistent values is fighting for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
“We exercise that right for our suspended members as well while we pray for a positive outcome of any investigation. At the same time, we are fully cooperating with the internal investigation,” Harrison said.
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2024-01-20 00:29:23 , The Sacramento Observer