Thursday, May 30, 2024

NAACP Press Conference

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Justice for Dr. Uyi Osunde
Greater Bridgeport NAACP

On Friday, April 19th, a passionate press conference sponsored by the Greater Bridgeport NAACP was held at the door of the Board of Education.

Dr. Lesly Valbrun, president of the chapter, introduced the program and speakers. Justice for Stratford Superintendent of Schools Dr. Uyi Osunde is the mission that each spoke to in his own individual way.

The domestic case against Dr. Osunde last November was dropped on January 31st, but he has not been reinstated to his position. The loss of his proven guidance and concern for the education and welfare of the Stratford students was expressed time and again.The Board of Education (BOE) has engaged lawyers to continue their own investigation, which is not related to the domestic charges.

Dr.Herron Gaston, State Senator for the 23rd District, addressed the crowd with a shared intolerance for the way Dr. Osunde has been treated. ‘We won’t stand for it’ was the echoing call from all those in attendance. 

Anthony O. Afriyie, Fifth District Councilman, referred to the fact that it has been seventy-nine days that Dr. Osunde has been away, and in that time the acting assistant superintendent has been given a salary of just under $20,000. He called the continuing investigation by the BOE a ‘hollow witch hunt’, which is achieving nothing. Urging people to make their voices heard, the crowd responded with ‘No justice, no peace’.

Stratford citizen Kenneth Pugh spoke on behalf of what he sees for the future of his seven-year-old son, a first-grader who stood by his side. “Kenneth is fearful of what will happen to his son’s hopes and dreams. When he takes heart seeing someone who looks like him earn his way to a position of responsibility and power, then sees that person dragged down for no reason, will his son feel there’s no point in even trying?” Kenneth said the kinds of actions he’s witnessing today are the same that he experienced when he was that age. He said some say it doesn’t matter, but that’s not right. He said for Dr. Osunde, it does matter.

Reverend William D. McCullough said the key to liberation is a first class education, and that every day that Dr. Osunde is out, the children are missing that opportunity, and he called for Osunde’s reinstatement now.

Dr. Valbrun concluded the press conference with comments on the structure of how people can be taken down. He called it the Playbook, with the four Ds: dismiss, discredit, demonize and destroy. He feels this is how the BOE is conducting the situation with Dr. Osunde. He stated that the case against Osunde was dismissed by a judge, and at that moment Dr. Osunde should have been reinstated. He said this was the most critical time for Dr. Osunde to be in his position as superintendent, when the budget is being set and a new assistant superintendent is being hired. He said any performance issues the BOE may have had were not cause for legal action. He noted the taxpayer cost involved in attorneys, the acting assistant superintendent’s salary and the superintendent’s salary while he is restricted from performing his job. He urged those present to spread the word to others to send a message to the BOE to reinstate Dr. Osunde now.

Those gathered there were respectfully enthusiastic on behalf of the speakers, their cause, and of Dr. Osunde, and eager to have him return as Superintendent.

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