NAACP in Springfield seeks to renew energy, membership

Published: Sunday, January 15, 2012
By Jack Flynn, The Republican

[caption id="attachment_793" align="alignright" width="380" caption="The Republican / Don Treeger - Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield NAACP, talks with the editorial board of The Republican."][/caption]SPRINGFIELD – At the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday ceremony Friday at City Hall, the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II offered a brief history lesson for younger members of the audience.

The causes championed by King five decades ago are the same ones civil rights activists are campaigning for today, said Swan, the new president of the Springfield’s NAACP chapter.

“Jobs and justice,” Swan told the overflow crowd, including students from the city’s Martin Luther King Charter School of Excellence.


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Newton Mayor Setti Warren speaks at Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony in Springfield

Published: Friday, January 13, 2012
By Jack Flynn, The Republican

[caption id="attachment_785" align="alignright" width="380" caption="Photo by Michael S. Gordon - Newton Mayor Setti D. Warren addresses the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration and flag-raising Friday at Springfield City Hall."][/caption]

SPRINGFIELD – The state’s first elected black mayor urged residents to celebrate the progress made possible by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while pushing for greater social and economic equality.

Speaking at a ceremony honoring the civil rights leader, Newton Mayor Setti D. Warren told the overflow crowd at City Hall that his daughter Abagail is growing up in a world that would be unrecognizable to her grandparents.

She lives in a city “with a black mayor, in a state with a black governor, in a country with a black president,” said Warren, the keynote speaker at the event sponsored by the city, the local NAACP chapter and other groups.

“She’s too young to know there was a time when (those opportunities) were not for her, when her ascendance was not possible,” said Warren, 42, a lawyer and Naval intelligence officer who was elected mayor in 2009 after returning from Iraq.


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We Will Stand: Defending Voting Rights


In collaboration with Brave New Foundation, the NAACP has put together a new video about the impact of the voting right attacks on communities of color. Please take a moment to watch and spread the message to everyone you know, then text STAND to 62227 to join our fight for voting rights


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In Memory of Alan Howard

by Maureen Turner, Senior Writer, Valley Advocate

[caption id="attachment_768" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Alan Howard, longtime political activist, was Chairman of the NAACP Political Action Commmittee"][/caption]

The old year ended on a sad note, with the passing of long-time political and community activist Alan Howard.

The 52-year-old Howard died on Dec. 30. His funeral service takes place tomorrow, Jan 6, at Bethel A.M.E. Church on Pendleton Avenue, with a calling hour from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by the funeral and burial at Oak Grove Cemetery.

A Springfield native, Howard went to Brown University, then returned to his hometown where he immersed himself in the city’s political scene. A one-time aide to U.S. Rep. Richie Neal and state Rep. Ben Swan, Howard was active in Springfield’s Democratic City Committee and worked on numerous political campaigns. He was also the former president of the McKnight Neighborhood Council, belonged to Arise for Social Justice and the Black Men of Greater Springfield, and, at the time of his death, was on the executive committee of the Springfield branch of the NAACP, serving as the political action chair. It’s hard to think of an important issue in recent Springfield history that Howard was not involved with, from his dedicated work to bring ward representation to the City Council to his outspokenness about police abuse of power, especially when dealing with people of color.


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Springfield NAACP schedules public meeting on Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski’s ‘Puerto Rican’ remark

December 28, 2011 By Lucila J. Santana, El Pueblo Latino

[caption id="attachment_708" align="alignright" width="380" caption="Easthampton City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski, left, is seen in this composite photo with Springfield NAACP president, the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II."][/caption]

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield branch of the NAACP has scheduled a public meeting Jan. 4 to discuss a recent comment by Easthampton city councilor Donald L. Cykowski that has been widely criticized as offensive to the Puerto Rican community.

Cykowski has since apologized for his statement, which was made at a Dec. 7 council meeting, but calls for further action continue inside and outside Easthampton.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president of the Easthampton City Council said he will file a resolution Tuesday reaffirming the council’s commitment to tolerance and against discrimination of any kind.


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The era of the ‘non-apology apology,’ where too little is too much for some

Published: Thursday, December 22, 2011
By Conor Berry, The Republican

[caption id="attachment_701" align="alignright" width="151" caption="Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski"][/caption]

“I’m sorry if what I said offended you.”

Welcome to the era of the “non-apology apology,” in which phrases like that abound in the corridors of power, where many leaders have become adept at deflecting criticism by co-opting others into the scenario – namely the aggrieved parties, who are often made out to be humorless, thin-skinned ninnies.

In short, the non-apology apology typically involves an alleged offender who attempts to save face while placating the party that was offended. Curiously, though, those who deliver such backhanded apologies never seem to own up to their wrongheadedness.

The practice of issuing non-apolgy apologies has become so common, in fact, that someone felt the need to create a Wikepedia entry on the phenomenon. And New York Times veteran William Schneider inadvertently coined a new phrase when he referred to the practice as “the past exonerative,” or seeming to apologize while not taking any personal responsibility for the presumed offense.


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NAACP wants censure, resident seeks resignation of Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski for ‘Puerto Rican’ remark

Published: Thursday, December 22, 2011
By Conor Berry, The Republican

[caption id="attachment_701" align="alignright" width="186" caption="Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski, shown here at a candidates forum this year, apologized at Wednesday's council meeting for a remark he made about Puerto Ricans at a Dec. 7 meeting."][/caption]

The head of the regional branch of the NAACP has called on Easthampton officials to censure City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski for appearing to disparage Puerto Ricans in a remark he made at a Dec. 7 council meeting.

The Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is also suggesting Cykowski “should consider resigning from public office, as he would be unfit to effectively serve his constituents.”

Also Thursday, Easthampton resident Lauren Marcous started an Internet petition asking the council and Mayor Michael A. Tautznik to force Cykowski to apologize and resign. She said Cykowski’s apology wasn’t sincere.

“Essentially, (Cykowski) apologized for other people ‘misunderstanding’ him – not for the racist statement he made,” Marcous’ petition letter states.

Cykowski said he has no intentions of resigning after issuing an apology at a council meeting Wednesday night.

“I thought my apology was enough,” he said Thursday.

The comment for which Cykowski apologized to his fellow council members was: “Where’s a Puerto Rican when we need one?” It was made after colleague and fellow councilor-at-large Ronald D. Chateauneuf left a meeting room and was unable to return when the door locked behind him. Cykowski hasn’t explained what he meant by the remark.


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Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski refuses to resign over Puerto Rican remark

Published Thursday, December 22, 2011
By Diane Lederman, The Republican

[caption id="attachment_708" align="alignleft" width="380" caption="Easthampton City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski, left, is seen in this composite photo with Springfield NAACP president, the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II."][/caption]

EASTHAMPTON – City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski said he has no intentions of resigning over a comment that he made two weeks ago about Puerto Ricans, for which he apologized on Wednesday night.

“I thought my apology was enough,” he said Thursday. When questioned about the sincerity of the apology because of how it was phrased, he said, “I’m not quite a wordsmith that some people would want. I tried to be as brief as (possible).”

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, he said, “I made a statement (at the Dec. 7 meeting). If I offended anyone I apologize.”


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Springfield NAACP President Talbert Swan blasts Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski for ‘racist’ remark about Puerto Ricans

Published December 22, 2011
By Conor Berry

[caption id="attachment_701" align="alignright" width="213" caption="Republican file photo: Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski, shown here at a candidates forum this year, apologized at Wednesday's council meeting for a remark he made about Puerto Ricans at a Dec. 7 meeting."][/caption]

SPRINGFIELD – The Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP, has called on Easthampton officials to censure City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski for disparaging Puerto Ricans, the dominant Hispanic ethnic group in Western Massachusetts, for a remark made at a Dec. 7 City Council meeting.

Cykowski asked “Where’s a Puerto Rican when we need one?” after colleague and fellow councilor-at-large Ronald D. Chateauneuf left the meeting room and was unable to reenter when the door locked behind him.

Cykowski later apologized for the comment, which Swan characterized as a “racist” remark that should not be tolerated by Easthampton officials.

Swan said that Cykowski, as an elected official, “should consider resigning from public office, as he would be unfit to effectively serve his constituents.”

Swan, as leader of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, issued a statement early Thursday urging Easthampton leaders to “strongly condemn such actions and (to) censure” Cykowski, who made a public apology at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.


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Springfield NAACP branch issues position paper calling for mandatory independent investigations of all city police shootings

By Greg Saulmon, The Republican, December 16, 2011

 SPRINGFIELD — The local branch of the NAACP on Friday issued a “position paper” calling for mandatory independentinvestigations of all police-involved shootings, a day after renewing its request for an outside probe into the November death of a city teenager after a confrontation with officers responding to a stolen car report.

“We feel strongly that any time an officer discharges his firearm and it results in the death of a citizen of our city, or a serious injury, that independent eyes should look at that particular case,” said Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the NAACP’s Springfield branch. Swan spoke during a press conference at Spring of Hope Church on Alden Street, where he serves as a pastor.


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