Despite NAACP protests, Bass declines to cancel speech


By Veronica Mackey

Contributing Writer

CARSON — Despite threats by the Me Too Movement and a local NAACP chapter protesting her appearance, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass intends to keep her commitment to speak Oct. 25 at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Bass is scheduled to speak as part of the Dymally Distinguished Speaker Series from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Leo F. Cain Library.

The Dymally Distinguished Speaker Series is part of the university’s Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute, which is led by professor Anthony Samad.

Samad, who is co-founder of the Urban Issues Breakfast Forum and was appointed by the university as executive director of the institute, has been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace by women under his supervision. He was sued by two women in 2008 and 2012 while he was president of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles.

Me Too, the movement created by Tarana Burke in 2006, and which gained momentum last year with accusations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and others, has become a lightning rod when it comes to women’s issues.

Bass has stood with women against sexual harassment and assault and has been a staunch supporter of women’s rights.

Although Bass could not be reached for comment for this story, a source reported she was troubled by the sudden controversy but that she intended to speak at the event.

Bass was an outspoken critic of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process.

In a statement dated July 9, she called Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by a woman he knew more than 30 years ago, an “absolutely disastrous nominee,” adding that his confirmation would threaten women’s reproductive rights.

A statement sent under the signatures of Paulette Simpson Gipson, president of the Compton NAACP, and Vincent L. Burr, president of the Carson-Torrance NAACP, called on Bass to “reject the invitation extended to her by Dr. Anthony Samad” and threatened to protest at the event if she didn’t cancel her appearance.

The NAACP chapters had protested to then Cal State Dominguez Hills President Willie Hagan when Samad was appointed to lead the Dymally institute on campus.

Dymally was a trail-blazing African-American who served in the state Legislature and Congress and was the second African-American elected to a state office when he was elected lieutenant governor in 1974.

Efforts to reach Gipson and current Cal State Dominguez Hills President Thomas Parham for comment were unsuccessful.

Kay Lee of African American Women United said she expected Bass to “stand with the ‘MeToo’ movement and women who have been abused in the workplace and reject this invitation by the abuser Samad.”

According to Gladys Jackson at the Dymally institute, Bass had not canceled her planned appearance as of Oct. 24, Jackson said campus police would deal with any protesters if necessary.