Nekima Levy-Pounds holds the M. Shanara Gilbert Award from the Association of American Law Schools.
Pledging to “shift the paradigm in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities for people of color,” Nekima Levy-Pounds, a college law professor and civil rights activist, announced her candidacy today for president of the Minneapolis NAACP chapter.
The outspoken Levy-Pounds, who has been at the forefront of the local “Black Lives Matter” movement, turned her sights on the leadership of the beleaguered chapter, announcing her candidacy in a Facebook post on Thursday. The incumbent, Rev. Jerry McAfee, has come under criticism in recent months for letting the chapter slip into dormancy, IBNN News reported.
Minnesota NAACP chairman W.C. Jordan said in an interview with the website that he had been “instructed and given the authority” by the organization’s national office to call a special election this spring for McAfee’s seat. The election will be held on May 2.
"As many of you are aware, communities of color in Minnesota are facing intolerable racial disparities in every key indicator of quality of life," Levy-Pounds said in the statement. "Well frankly, I feel that enough is enough."
The statement continued:
"I am tired of politics getting in the way of justice. I am tired of people making excuses about the gaps in unemployment and education. I am tired of seeing African Americans being criminalized and unfairly punished at every hand. And I am tired of folks being comfortable with the status quo. It is for these reasons that I have decided to run for president of a long-standing and important community institution, such as the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP."
She declined on Thursday to discuss the leadership situation, but said that she intended to “address racial disparities in the criminal justice system and inadequate access to economic opportunity.”
“I have a track record for pushing for police accountability and fighting for repeal of low level ordinances which are leading to the unjust criminalization of poor people of color, particularly on the North side,” she said in a text message. “I hope to engage philanthropic organizations in working more collaboratively with grass roots organizations to build their capacity to deliver high quality services within their own community.”
Born in Jackson, Miss., Levy-Pounds, who was named "Attorney of the Year" by Minnesota Lawyer in 2014, is currently a law professor at the University of St. Thomas. She entered the public consciousness when last fall she became one of the faces of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, which, like its counterparts around the country, first sprouted in the wake of police shootings of unarmed black men that drew national attention and outrage.