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IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                    May 13, 2009

    Contact: Chris Fleming

                   (202) 463-2940 ext.1021






State NAACP Calls for Board Member to Resign and Full Investigation to be Conducted


WASHINGTON, DC—The NAACP announced today a letter sent by the North Carolina State Conference demanding the resignation of Burke County School Board member Rob Hairfield.


From September 2008 to as recent as February 2009, Hairfield sent expletive laden and racist emails from his personal email account.


“While Mr. Hairfield has attempted to apologize for utilizing racist, stereotypical and offensive internet communication, his apology is not accepted. The use of the “N” word, particularly by a public figure used verbally or electronically is not free or protected speech. Furthermore, we do not believe we can trust the decision making on behalf of our children by anyone who agrees with the racist sentiments of these emails,” stated NAACP North Carolina State Conference President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.


The NAACP is calling for the School Board to take immediate action by condemning the racist e-mails admittedly sent by Hairfield and asking for his resignation.  In addition, the Board is being asked to conduct an internal investigation to determine if others in the school system were recipients of the e-mails in question and if so, their response.


“Even the very presence of this kind of activity should cause the entire community to be outraged,” stated NAACP Burke County Chapter President Barbara Myers, “The mind set reflected in these egregious acts are not excused by a visit to an NAACP banquet, having a few Black friends or an attempt to present them as being humorous.” 


“One of the investigations we are demanding is to find out how deep does the action run,” says Barber.


In an open letter to the community and to Hairfield, The NAACP North Carolina State Conference pointed to a North Carolina Supreme Court case in which a sitting District Attorney was removed from office for using the “N” word in public after hours at a bar.


“This is both about Mr. Hairfield and even more the trail of racist hate speech/images and how far it runs.  We call on the rest of the school board to join us in pursuing this investigation and calling for Mr. Hairfield’s resignation,” added Barber.  “These actions represent more than a personal failing but a racist public disposition by someone charged and elected to care for the welfare of all children.  This is why we are calling for and pursuing his resignation,” concluded Barber.


The NAACP in conjunction with the NAACP North Carolina State Conference and Burke County NAACP will call on the State of North Carolina to consider all available options regarding Hairfield.


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