Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reinstate Henry Banks as Director Emeritus of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial

This past week the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Board voted to remove Henry Banks from his position of Director Emeritus of that organization.  The CJM Memorial is a site that marks where the 1920 lynching of three African-Americans took place in Duluth.  The Memorial was dedicated in 2003.  One of the key activists who helped to initiate and build the Memorial, was Henry Banks. Henry is one of the most energetic and effective civil rights activists in the Twin Ports community.  Among his projects is the weekly "People of Color With HenryBanks" radio program on KUWS.

It is thus a great shock and disappointment that the CJMM Board would vote to disassociate itself from Henry.  The reasons for the decision appear to be Henry's support for Occupy Duluth's right to meet at the Memorial site, and his questioning of the Board's recent attempts to change its bylaws.  Henry was not invited to the meeting that votes to remove him from his position, nor was he given any indication that this move was coming.  He was simply notified by a letter in the mail.

The Northern Worker stands in solidarity with Henry Banks, and urges the CJMM Board to reverse its position and re-instate Henry as its Director Emeritus.  The CJMM Board has the potential to play an important role in the struggle for civil rights, and this potential will be significantly enhanced by actively working with committed activists like Henry.

Below is a recent statement issued by Banks, followed by the letter that the CJMM Board:

HENRY BANKS:  I'm sorry, but I have to put this letter up for all to see. I have been removed from CJMM, Inc. Director Emeritus status. It seems as though someone wants to suppress my right to speak freely in a democratic society. They even accused me of speaking in behalf of their organization - which I have never done.

Perhaps they don't like me giving my opinion about "certain people" using the CJMM, Inc. memorial site. Wow, the letter is just so priceless. Maybe it's because I care about all people and the rights of all people - maybe that makes some individuals uncomfortable. Or, maybe it's because I don't agree with everything they do as a board. This is
America. We are a great nation because we have varying opinions about society and life in general. If we all agreed the same on everything - this would be a boring country.

To the board of CJMM, Inc. I say FU. That means, I forgive you for your actions. Maybe they should have contacted Peter Passi at the DNT to ask him if I ever spoke to him in behalf of CJMM, Inc. They will find out that was speaking for myself and no one else. I remain the original founder and organizer of the entire CJMM, Inc. project and that will never change.

BTW, I am not bitter. I remain so happy right now and plan to have a great weekend.

Thank CJMM, Inc. I appreciate you all.

Here's a letter dated
October 22, 2012 from the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Board of Directors:


Please read the letter folks, it is below:
The letter was not signed with signatures by each board member.

"October 22, 2012


Recent actions on your part have been of great concern to the CJMM, Inc Board of Directors. They have been deemed unprofessional, inappropriate, potentially damaging to the credibility and integrity of the organization, and beyond the scope of your Director Emeritus status.

In light of one of those actions, your recent Facebook postings regarding proposed changes to CJMM, Inc.'s bylaws, a member of the Governance Committee contacted you by Facebook, email and phone, inviting you to discuss your concerns. You did not respond.

As a result of your actions, at the
October 17th, 2012 monthly board meeting, under Article III, Section 3.18, the board voted to remove you as Director Emeritus, effective immediately. Furthermore, we are asking you to cease and desist from representing yourself as a spokesman for CJMM, Inc.

This was neither an easy nor comfortable decision. CJMM, Inc. recognizes and deeply respects your invaluable and initiating role in the grassroots formation of the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial Committee and your arduous commitment to the realization of the memorial. And we sincerely welcomed the opportunity to amend the bylaws last year, to be able to offer you Director Emeritus status.

Although this has been a difficult decision, CJMM continues to wish you well and appreciates your ongoing efforts to achieve racial equity in our community.

2012 CJMM, Inc. Board of Directors"

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