ACORN 8 - Modern Day Rosa Parks Seek Integrity and Reform

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The national board of the ACORN 8, LLC formally demand an immediate suspension of all federal, state and local funding of ACORN until after an independent audit and Congressional hearings on ACORN and its related entities, and that all members boycott ACORN and immediately cease paying their dues until after a forensic examination of ACORN and its related entities. The ACORN 8 consists of national, state and local board members, presidents or chairs. ACORN 8, LLC (http://www.ACORN8.com) an organization of ACORN leaders; current and former board members who are struggling to reform the association following the discovery of a million dollar embezzlement; and is America's last, best chance to empower low and moderate income members of society through Truth, Transparency and Integrity in community organizing.

In short, we are trying to correct the saddest of sadnesses, the living out of the proverb that corruption of the best becomes the worst. Without a strong progressive movement, there can be no social justice. Without a strong -- and squeaky clean -- ACORN, the progressive movement is hobbled. In other words, change must come to ACORN before it can come to America

It's really ironic that the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now, started with four little old ladies fighting for fairness and welfare rights in the 1970s. These neighborhood leaders hired Wade Rathke to help them organize their community to empower low and moderate income families in Little Rock. Nearly forty years later, three little old ladies -- Karen Inman, Marcel Reid and Carol Hemmingway - have initiated a fight for fairness and integrity within that association itself.

"For decades, Little Rock, Arkansas was home to one of the most important community organizations in America. But supporters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - now ask their friends in this community, and across the nation, to temporarily boycott the group until its corruption can be cleansed and returned it to its promise of helping low- and moderate-income people. And not a small cabal of dishonest officials who have taken control," states Michael McCray, National Spokesperson for ACORN 8, LLC (http://www.ACORN 8.com).

While not everyone has always approved of its confrontational tactics, many know some of the impressive results achieved for poor people over the years: Living wage laws to fight poverty. Partnerships with unions to assist workers. Housing programs to get Americans one step closer to the American dream. Those are real, tangible victories that improve all Americans lives.

"But equally real is the tarnish to the venerable group. An admitted embezzlement of nearly $1 million of money that should have been used to support low-income members and their campaigns for social and economic justice. And there's the needless stain of accusations of voter fraud, voter registration fraud, unpaid taxes, mistreatment of employees," continues McCray

The alleged embezzlement was reported in New York Times, on July 9, 2008, titled, "Funds Misappropriated at 2 Nonprofit Groups" by Stephanie Strom which disclosed that "ACORN chose to treat the embezzlement of nearly $1 million eight years ago as an internal matter and did not even notify its board."

Marcel Reid and Karen Inman were summarily 'removed' from the association board in retaliation for requesting an audit following the admitted embezzlement. The board members who covered up the embezzlement remain on the association board; but the board members who sought to investigate the embezzlement were summarily 'terminated'.

"Simply put, senior staff has tried to remove national board members for exercising their fiduciary obligations. Bullying and intimidation - that's been the ACORN way," continues McCray. However, the ACORN 8 submitted complaints to 15 District U.S. Attorneys, alleging the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now violated federal criminal law in expelling them from the group as reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on January 7, 2009.

"And so a small cadre of ACORN leaders from across the nation have banded together to reclaim the venerable group; together we are known as the ACORN 8. Our reform movement, even in its infancy, consists of national, state and local board members, presidents or chairs. As such, we are leaders in our communities and within ACORN," states Karen Inman, Co-founder ACORN 8

"We are typically loyal Democrats and we don't understand why Democratic leaders have not rallied to help us. But regardless of political party affiliation, we all share a passion for helping the underserved and disenfranchised through direct community action," states Marcel Reid, Chairman ACORN 8

Recently, Reid and Inman appeared on the Glenn Beck Show and called for a national boycott of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. These two courageous whistle-blowers are a pair of modern day Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman.

Rosa Parks dared to fight the power of southern society in Montgomery, Alabama and sparked the modern civil rights movement. While the ACORN 8 dares to fight one of the most powerful democratic organizations in the country. Harriet Tubman was a runaway slave who became known as the "Moses of her people". Who at great personal risk led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. "Likewise Reid and Inman are struggling to 'free' the low to moderate income members from the mental shackles of ACORN's deceitful senior management," continues McCray

Tubman is credited for freeing dozens of slaves, and was quoted in frustration as saying she could have freed hundreds more …. if they just realized they were slaves. "That is the problem with ACORN; the general membership and association board do not realize that they have become the pawns of senior management, or that they have the legal right to control their own association," argues McCray.

"We have tried reason. We have tried polite legal efforts to see where our members' money -- as well as that from taxpayers and progressive foundations -- has gone. But we have been blocked every step of the way, and faced with a campaign of ex-communication. If the stakes were lower, it would be easy to walk away, but we must fight for the soul of change," continues Inman.

"In short, we are trying to correct the saddest of sadnesses, the living out of the proverb that corruption of the best becomes the worst. Without a strong progressive movement, there can be no social justice. Without a strong -- and squeaky clean -- ACORN, the progressive movement is hobbled. In other words, change must come to ACORN before it can come to America," concludes Inman.

"So we are calling on our friends across America, to join us in a formal, and persuasive effort, to clean up this corruption. We formally demand an immediate suspension of all federal, state and local funding until after an independent audit and Congressional hearings on ACORN and its related entities. And that all members boycott and immediately cease paying their dues until after a forensic examination of ACORN and its related entities," continues Reid.

"We are confident our cause is just and our mission is well on its way. We cannot win alone, though. We need federal authorities to investigate ACORN's mismanagement and fraud … and we need your help," concludes Reid.

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MICHAEL MCCRAY
ACORN 8
(870) 543-0024
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