The head of the national NAACP could come to Raleigh for next week's mass demonstration against the Wake County school board's elimination of the socioeconomic diversity policy.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said he has talked with NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous about participating in the July 20 rally. Barber, who is also on the national board of directors of the NAACP, is in Kansas City for the group's annual convention.
Todd Jealous has previously spoken out publicly about the Wake school situation.
Todd Jealous issued a press release in March demanding that Ron Margiotta resign as school board chairman for having said "here come the animals out of the cages" during a board meeting.
The NAACP has accused Margiotta of having racial overtones with the statement. But Margiotta has questioned how it can be racial if he was complaining about how the mostly white crowd was booing a black speaker for saying he opposed the diversity policy.
Barber mentioned his attempts to bring Todd Jealous to Raleigh after giving a fiery speech Thursday at the prayer vigil organized by the Eastern N.C. District of the AME Zion Church.
During the vigil, in which Barber was the speaker of honor, he repeatedly said that the move to neighborhood schools in Wake would lead to more high poverty schools. He compared high poverty schools to making an upward pool shot on a table that was tilted.
"All we want is a level playing field," Barber told the audience.
Barber said that the ability of a few students to succeed at high poverty schools doesn't mean it's acceptable to go with neighborhood schools.
Barber again raised the possibility that he and others who go to the school board meeting after the march will engage in civil disobedience that could lead to arrests. He said that "folks have to do what the Lord leads them to do" at the school board meeting.
Unlike the March 23 arrests, none of the people arrested at the June 15 meeting have been barred from being on school property.
"If we have to pray together and go to jail together, forwards ever backwards never," Barber said as he was cheered by the audience.