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Jul 21, 2010

National Coalition Statement on Mistreatment of USDA's Shirley Sherrod

Washington, DC - Melanie L. Campbell, president & CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation issued the following statement regarding the resignation of Ms. Shirley Sherrod, former Georgia State Director for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

"We’ve come a long way in America as it pertains to race relations. However, when an upstanding woman that has excelled throughout her long career is forced to resign before the facts are revealed, in an effort to be politically correct; it’s time to examine where our journey to justice and equality has lead us.

"Taking into account the fact that her father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, Ms. Shirley Sherrod’s story of her own personal growth and racial transformation epitomizes the change many of us hope for in America and have worked for over the years.

"As an African American woman in leadership, I have to wonder if a man would have been humiliated and asked to pull over to the side of the road to text a resignation without the opportunity to tell HIS side of the story.

"The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation calls on the USDA to make every effort to right this egregious wrong by offering Ms. Sherrod her job back, and making her feel secure that she will suffer no further repercussions due to their rush to judgment.

"Ms. Sherrod deserves an apology from USDA, the media, and every individual and organization that reported the story or publicly admonished her without a thorough investigation of the facts. A fast food worker would have received more respect and due diligence.

"The lesson here is that if we strive to be legally and morally correct rather than politically correct, and take the time to be right instead of first, we will not taint the reputation of a reputable woman based on comments taken out of context with the intent to incite racial discord."

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