Expect a flurry of protests and boycotts if President Trump follows his plan to attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, which is the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood. Trump was invited to the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the History of Mississippi Museum several months ago by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. The NAACP has just issued a statement strongly recommending that Trump not attend the opening of the Civil Rights Museum, because Trump’s track record shows he “has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation”, according to NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
The NAACP released a fuller press release, entitled “President Trump Should Not Attend Grand Opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum”, on the NAACP website. In the statement, NAACP President and CEO Johnson further describes, “President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.”
JUST IN: NAACP says President Trump should not attend grand opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum pic.twitter.com/h47AxtJ4QK
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 5, 2017
Activists have promised protests and some boycotts if President Trump is in attendance on Saturday, while some others have indicated that they would attend even if Trump is there, to be sure that the focus remains on the civil rights movement rather than on Trump. One voice on the side of boycotting if Trump attends, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger, is:
Mississippi native Joyce Ladner, who was mentored by NAACP leader Medgar Evers before he was assassinated in 1963, said she will no longer attend because Trump opposes what activists fought and died for in the civil rights movement. “What would Medgar Evers think?” she asked. “How would Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman feel?” James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were three civil rights workers killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964.
The President of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, Charles Hampton, has appealed to Governor Bryant to take back Trump’s invitation to the grand opening. According to the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Hampton said, “At a time when this state and country will reflect upon the sacrifices made by those known and unknown in Mississippi for the struggle for civil rights, an invitation to a president that has aimed to divide this nation is not becoming of this historic moment.”
One voice on the side of attending the event even if President Trump is present is Dennis Dahmer, whose father Vernon Dahmer, was killed by the KKK in 1966 in Hattiesburg. Dennis Dahmer told the Jackson Clarion Ledger that, “I will be in attendance to make sure that the focus of this event, specifically the Civil Rights Museum part of it, does not get redefined, clouded or turned into some type of photo opportunity for a U.S. sitting president looking for a ‘feel-good’ crowd.”
Both anti-Trump and pro-Trump activists plan to attend the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. That combination already makes for a volatile situation that President Trump’s presence would only inflame further. How a president who thinks there were “good people on both sides” at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, can possibly imagine his presence to be appropriate at a Civil Rights Museum grand opening is baffling. Clearly President Trump has made no effort, through policy or action, or even words, to show he genuinely cares about civil rights. Absent that effort, as NAACP Board member Dr. Amos Brown said in the NAACP’s press release shown above, “Trump’s visit is an insult.”