An open letter to Al Sharpton
August 2, 2011
As the head of National Action Network (NAN), and as an advocate for women and people’s rights, I would like to first say that I am appalled at your recent position concerning Tony Wafford—allowing him to “take a leave of absence,” rather than making him to step down from his position and resign from NAN.
Tony Wafford, your West Coast Chair of the NAN violated my civil rights in the workplace, by not only sexually harassing me, but added insult to injury by verbally and physically attacking me in the workplace. After seeing hand surgeons and a hand therapist, (their) reports indicated the blow caused inoperable nerve damage to my appendage where I am left with an affliction of pain that I must bear for the rest of my life.
I had witnesses to the mistreatment I experienced, and filed a sexual harassment and battery lawsuit against Tony Wafford. My physicians have provided court declarations as to the severity of the injuries to my hand as well.
Mr. Sharpton, I did what the law and justice system tells every law-abiding citizen to do when wronged. My case was heard and fought in Los Angeles Superior Court before a 12-member jury.
On November 1, 2010 at the conclusion of a nine-day trial, a jury returned with a verdict in my favor, calling it “intentional tort” battery, while continuously being sexually harassed by Tony Wafford, while working at the Palms Residential Care Facility office.
As the head of National Action Network, I find it ironic that you have publicly gone to bat for many, many others cases of injustice, i.e., Don Imus, the Duke Lacrosse team, Tawana Brawley and many others, too numerous to count on the behalf of African American women. However, someone who now has a close affiliation with you, is now being given preferential treatment.
The National Black Women’s Network, The South Central L.A. Progressive Movement and Sistahs of the Black Liberation Movement threatened to Boycott NAN unless your organization makes Tony Wafford step down and resign.
You have made several public statements, which are inaccurate. Media strategies and sly attacks will not blind-side this case, whether you were aware of it or not.
To clarify a few matters, on July 14 you issued a public statement to EURweb.com stating that the status of my employment with the NAN was “that I was not an employee of NAN.” This was incorrect. I worked full time and directly with Wafford and reported to him directly, while at the Palms, from 2004 through 2007.
In 2006 when you crowned Wafford as the president of the NAN LA Chapter, I was then hired by Wafford and worked directly for him at both Palms and NAN. LA Chapter president of NAN, Rev. K. W. Tulloss knew of this, and Tony Wafford solidified my position in writing.
It was also mentioned recently by you, issued via e-mail to reporters stated that “I filed a worker’s comp claim and was denied while working at the Palms.” This also is incorrect.
Mr. Sharpton, I ask you once again, will you do what is right and what you have enforced for others in the past for their injustices, or will you continue to turn a blind eye, and think this will go away? I leave you with your very own slogan and words, “No Justice, No Peace.”
In closing, on Monday, July 18, at the continuation of the non-economic damages trial, Tony Wafford had to be reminded by the judge that a jury verdict had, in fact, found him guilty.
Mr. Sharpton, as the head of NAN organization and someone who is associated with and employs Tony Wafford, I and every African American woman expect you to stand up for what is right, by firing him, and put your personal friendship aside. If not, you will continue to send a message that it is ok for people that (you know) to sexually harass, mistreat, or abuse someone in the workplace.
Sharon Song Byrd
Tony Wafford, the West Coast coordinator of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and president of Wafford Consulting and the Palms Residential Care Center, will have to pay former National Action Network program administrator Sharon Song Byrd damages for sexual harassment and battery. A continuation hearing was held Monday to determine the amount of damages Wafford must pay, but no amount has as yet been specified.
Score one for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope, for their very emotional outcry about the so-called “Django Unchained” slave dolls. On Friday, Jan. 18, the Weinstein Co. announced that it has asked toy maker NECA to discontinue the “Django Unchained” action figure dolls after receiving complaints that the dolls were offensive and trivialized the horrors of slavery.
CHICAGO, Ill.—More than 200 National Newspaper Publishers Association members who gathered at Chicago’s legendary Drake Hotel saw the torch of Black press excellence passed to a new, younger generation in the person of Arizona legislator, the Honorable Clovis Campbell Jr., publisher of the Arizona Informant.
A group of 20 to 30 protesters marched in front of the Fullerton home of Marilyn Davenport, the embattled member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee who sent an email two weeks ago depicting the president of the United States as a chimpanzee.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Actress and author Holly Robinson Peete joined women volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles and Lowe’s yesterday to rehabilitate a home. Peete was among nearly 10,000 women who volunteered at Habitat construction sites this week across the country in recognition of National Women Build Week, May 4-12.
A mother of four, Peete is the national spokesperson for National Women Build Week 2013 and a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity.