Monday morning, the national office of the NAACP issued a cease-and-desist letter to the president of the Atlanta Branch, Richard Rose, for the comments he made October 20th regarding Kasim Reed’s candidacy for Mayor of Atlanta.

Rose’s statement included a “rare repudiation” of Kasim Reed’s campaign of making false statements concerning affordable housing, not fully supporting Historically Black Colleges in their quest for fair land deals and failing to remove Confederate monuments.

Rose penned his letter on the Atlanta NAACP letterhead. It read in part, “As a nonpartisan agency, the NAACP typically refrains from endorsing a political party or speaking out about a specific candidate. Today, I am breaking that tacit protocol. To do anything less would be an abdication of my mission to help move Atlanta forward, not backward.”

“Atlanta can and must do better than elect Kasim Reed again. Thirteen other candidates are running, some with proven leadership ability and political experience and not with a record of administrative corruption.”

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson has called Rose’s actions “unacceptable.”

The letter quoted their bylaws which forbids office holders from endorsing candidates for public office:

“Article II, Section 2(d) of the Bylaws for Units of the NAACP states that “[a]ll political action shall be non-partisan and shall not endorse candidates for public office.” Furthermore, Article VIII, Section 5(p) of the Bylaws for Units of the NAACP states the political action committee “shall be nonpartisan and shall not endorse candidates for public office.” 

Reed, who is a life member, responded to the NAACP letter in part:

I am grateful for the NAACP’s swift response to Mr. Rose’s political statement. As a lifetime member of the NAACP, I am committed to the mission and work of this path breaking organization. The allegations contained in Mr. Rose’s letter were false and wholly without merit. Our campaign is being attacked because we sought and received the support of the women and men of the Atlanta Police Department at a time when crime and violence is devastating our city. We remain honored to have the support of The International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO) Local 623 and are committed to making Atlanta safe in a manner that is consistent with our values as the cradle of the Civil Rights movement.

—  Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Reed took to the podium to address the letter, his endorsements and Richard Rose.

“I’ll take the endorsement of Ambassador Andrew Young, who was shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Martin Luther King and during all of the critical days of his life, up against the NAACP,” Reed said. “After the endorsement of Maynard Jackson the third grade, whose father was the only person ever there three times up against that endorsement.

I’ll put the endorsement of Kwame Abernathy, whose father Ralph Abernathy was Dr. King’s right hand, up against the endorsement of the local NAACP. I’ll put the endorsement of the firefighters Union. And what’s amazing is you all give that hit piece, and you know it was a hit piece, all of the credit in the world.”

Reed touted the fact he received the endorsements from The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 134, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Georgia Local 1644, the Georgia Federation of Public Service Employees (FPSE), the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 8 Southeast, and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

With early voting underway and seven days remaining until Election Day, Reed has called out the attacks against him by his opponents, current Atlanta City Council President, Felicia Moore, and Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens.

“And let’s be clear, Andre Dickens has given up,” Reed said. “So everything that he does for the next eight days isn’t for Andre Dickens,  he doesn’t have a chance to win in this election. He is done. Everything he does is for Felicia Moore, who he’s going to endorse on November 3. They’re all going to have the exact same press conference that they had when they tried to defeat Mayor Bottoms. Amnesia is more common than you all think.”

Kasim Reed speaks during a press conference on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 from his campaign offices in Downtown Atlanta. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...