The Rev. William Barber, head of the state NAACP, wants to know how Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta decided to reject the group's request for a 45-minute presentation at a board meeting.
In a letter sent Thursday to Margiotta, Barber makes a Public Records Act request for records showing how the decision was made to reject the 45-minute presentation and make the counteroffer of a private meeting with the school board leadership.
Barber says he needs the information so that he can present Margiotta's offer at the Feb. 13 “Historic Thousands on Jones Street” or “HK on J” rally. He's looking to get the info back by Feb. 10.
Margiotta explained in an interview that the determination to offer the meeting with the board leadership, consisting of him and vice chairwoman Debra Goldman, came after e-mail exchanges with other board members. He said it was determined that turning down Barber's request and offering him the meeting with the board leadership was consistent with past board practice.
Barber reiterates in the new letter why the NAACP is leery about private meetings.
"For over 350 years, people of color had no access to important public decisions made in secret, all-white meetings," Barber writes. "As a result of these all-white secret meetings and decisions, we were forced into segregated housing, neighborhoods, and schools. During our 100 year existence, we have fought diligently to open up these public decisions and meetings to the light of day to people of all races. We'll never go back."