WASHINGTON - Mychal Massie, the chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network, has challenged Al Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial and former D.C. Congressional Delegate Walter Fauntroy to justify accusations and implications by them and others that the Tea Party movement is steeped in racism. A room is reserved for the debate.
Will Sharpton, Morial and Fauntroy show up?
The debate is set for 1:00 PM on Monday, February 28, 2011 in the Zenger Room at the National Press Club in Washington.
Massie's debate challenge stems from a widely-broadcast allegation made by Fauntroy during an August 26, 2010 National Press Club press conference hosted by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
While primarily addressing opposition to Glenn Beck's then-upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial, Fauntroy said: "We are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty that the Ku Klux -- I meant to say the tea party... You all forgive me, but I -- you have to use them interchangeably."
"I felt compelled to challenge these men to defend, in a public debate forum, their racially-charged and uncivil accusations against those who want lower taxes, less government intrusion, and the government to be more fiscally responsible," said Massie. "These men have thus far been given carte blanche to make such accusations. They have used the media to inject their poisonous and divisive diatribes as personal currency into the public economy. It is time they are called upon to explain and defend their allegations."
Fauntroy, Morial and Sharpton were repeatedly contacted by certified mail, fax, telephone and calls and e-mails made to their representatives, starting September 8, 2010, to participate in a debate.
While none have yet replied, a space will be reserved for them. If they do not attend, Massie will address their past public comments alleging tea party racism.
"With their divisive rhetoric, these men and those like them do incalculable harm to the cohesiveness of our communities. It is time they be held accountable," added Massie. "I felt a debate would be the fairest method for them to explain and defend their comments.
Massie continues, "As to their silence thus far, it would seem they are either incapable of defending their position, fearful of having to defend it or -- for reasons explainable only by them -- they fear giving me more of a national platform."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research