Roslyn M. Brock is refusing to call for the Washington professional football team to change its racist nickname that is derogatory to Native Americans.
She also is vice president for advocacy and government relations with Bon Secours Health System Inc. And she refuses to criticize Bon Secours over a discriminatory partnership it entered into with the Washington football team, which has a white supremacist ownership history.
Rather than take a stand on the racism issue, Ms. Brock stated she had turned the Jim Crow issue over to the "NAACP General Counsel," the Richmond Branch NAACP and the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP. She also stated that she had "shared the information with the leadership of Bon Secours Health System in Richmond."
The two corporate giants - Bon Secours and the Washington pro football - agreed to a deal that denied black businesses and other local businesses this summer the opportunity to receive vendor contracts inside the team's new taxpayer-supported training facility in Richmond.
Ms. Brock, 48, refused to take a direct stand on the Washington team's nickname and the discriminating vending policy more than a month after receiving a Sept. 27 letter from Raymond H. Boone, the editor/publisher of the Richmond Free Press, which has banned the racist nickname from its news and editorial columns.
She still refused to take a stand after receiving a Nov. 1 email from Mr. Boone, urging her to speak out against the racist nickname and the football team's vending policy that allowed the selection of the super-rich football team's corporate vendors over black and other local vendors in Richmond.
Ms. Brock's refusal to denounce the racist nickname and the discriminatory vending policy comes on the heels of her acceptance of the 2012 Leadership Award from the National Newspaper Publishers' Association, a trade association of black-owned newspapers, in recognition of her "fierce" advocacy of social justice.
In his Nov. 1 email to Ms. Brock, Mr. Boone stated her failure to denounce the racism "raises the unavoidable question of whether Bon Secours is restricting you from living up to your responsibility to honor the NAACP mission?"
In a tepid four-paragraph email response a little more than three hours later, Ms. Brock called the racist nickname and vending policy a "local" matter. She stated the Virginia NAACP, led by Executive Director King Salim Khalfani, and the Richmond Branch NAACP, should "handle" the matters. She also stated she was forwarding the discrimination complaints to the NAACP general counsel for review. It was in this email that she also stated she had informed Bon Secours.
In stark contrast, Mr. Khalfani has consistently and boldly protested the racist Washington nickname and the discriminatory training camp policy. "I don't use their nickname and the recalcitrance that has been shown about changing that racist name is unacceptable," he stated in the Oct. 10-12 edition of the Free Press.
In the Sept. 27 letter to Ms. Brock, Mr. Boone also shared with her Bon Secours' contradictory stated "good help" mission to "build a better Richmond for all citizens," while partnering with the Washington team and city government. The name of the training camp includes the names of Bon Secours and the derogatory nickname of the football team owned by Daniel Snyder, who vows he will never change the name.
"This Bon Secours decision disgracefully enhanced Richmond's shameful reputation as 'The Capital of Poverty,' with 25 percent of Richmond's population suffering in poverty," Mr. Boone wrote.
"I would greatly appreciate your guidance on how to deal ... with the unquestionable hypocrisy of Bon Secours in Richmond," Mr. Boone stated in the letter. "I look to hear from you with a sense of urgency commensurate with your commitment to the NAACP mission," he stated, adding: "In the interest of fairness and the image of the NAACP, I respectfully suggest that you respond."
Ms. Brock did not hesitate to respond to this email. A little more than three hours later, she responded with her email response to the query, but maintained her silence on the racism issue.
A graduate of Richmond's Virginia Union University, Ms. Brock is the youngest elected national NAACP chair and only the fourth woman to serve in the post in the organization's 104-year history. She was elected as chair in 2010.