Good will hard at work at NAACP-GOP job fair

May 19, 1999|By GREGORY KANE

BALTIMORE City's NAACP chapter has been accused of consorting with -- ugh! -- Republicans, fer crying out loud. Rumor has it that Maryland's Republican Party and the city NAACP will co-sponsor a job fair today at the Marriott Inner Harbor.

Well, actually the rumor's been confirmed. The Baltimore branch -- or chapter, or whatever it is the NAACP's local affiliates want to be called -- issued a press release confirming the job fair, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mayor Kurt Schmoke, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and Congressmen Ben Cardin, Wayne Gilchrest, Elijah Cummings and Robert Ehrlich are among the invitees.

This is news we don't normally hear about the Republican Party. Let Trent Lott get caught giving a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens and we hear about it, along with sly implications that those rascally Republicans are always cozying up to racist types and may even be a bit racist themselves. Few in the media have bothered to report that Democrats have also given speeches to the CCC. Lott got nailed for it, and rightly so, but it's time black folks -- long addicted to voting Democratic -- admit that not all Republicans are alike.

Dick Taylor, a member of Maryland's Republican National Committee for the past 16 years, said today's job fair is the 13th in the past 15 years.

"It was an idea spawned by a lady by the name of Jeanette Wessel and Nat Smith," Taylor said. "They had lunch together and came back to me with the idea." Wessel was the executive director of Maryland's GOP "for a good part of the 1980s," Taylor said, and Smith was a member of the city NAACP branch. The first job fair in 1985 was held at the Omni Hotel. It drew 5,000 people. The average attendance has been 1,000 to 2,000 people.

About 70 employers will be on hand. That's down from last year's 85, but Taylor said that 70 employers is about average. Some of the companies expected to attend are Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Giant Foods, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, a few temporary agencies and, Taylor said, "a number of police outfits."

There's even something for those of you passionate about gun control and who may be looking for a career: Representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will be on hand.

Taylor said he pays for the job fair out of his pocket. This year's tab might run to $5,000. The state GOP may kick in 500 bucks. Brenda Clayburn, secretary for the city NAACP branch, said the original agreement called for the Republicans to pay for the job fair as a service to the community. The job fair is a worthy effort, but we should hope that the state Republican Party might help Taylor out a bit more.

Clayburn said the cooperative effort has been free of controversy these past 15 years.

"We take the politics out of it," Clayburn stressed. "We don't allow campaign literature of any kind. We can't endorse candidates anyway."

Taylor said that about 10 percent of those who attend the fair get jobs.

The NAACP-GOP job fair is one of a number of stories you might not hear or read about in the media. Here's one more:

Who knew that Baltimore County's Towson High School had a magnet program to attract students interested in law? Some 37 potential lawyers graduated from Towson's Law and Public Policy Program last Wednesday. Janice Mabry, the program's coordinator, felt compelled to note that among the 37 were the senior class valedictorian and salutatorian, the senior class president, the student government president, the president of the Baltimore County Student Council and a finalist in the Congressional Page Program.

Four members in the program are on Towson's mock trial team and won the state championship for the second time in three years. They are: Meghan Bashaar, Broderick Bond, Jerrel Duffy and Terry Wasserman.

Let's wish all these students luck in college and law school, should they decide to go. And no lawyer jokes, please. We've heard enough about lawyers being the vampires that walk in daylight. Actually, lawyers are invaluable to society. It's those leeches at car insurance companies that are the vampires that walk in daylight.

Towson's program is a year old. Members of my generation, the baby boomers, might well be thinking: Why didn't they have this kind of stuff when we were in school?

Pub Date: 05/19/99

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.