Springfield NAACP President Talbert Swan condemns ‘racist, despicable’ meme posted on his Facebook page, allegedly by Utah police officer

The Layton, Utah, Police Department is investigating a complaint by Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, that his Facebook page was marred by a "racist" meme allegedly posted by one of Layton's officers.
The Layton, Utah, Police Department is investigating a complaint by Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, that his Facebook page was marred by a “racist” meme allegedly posted by one of Layton’s officers.(DON TREEGER / THE REPUBLICAN [FILE])

SPRINGFIELD — The Layton Police Department in Utah is investigating a complaint by Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, that his Facebook page was marred by a “racist” meme allegedly posted by one of Layton’s officers.

Swan, in a Facebook response to the post, said it was “racist, despicable, and unbecoming for any law enforcement officer to post on social media.”

Lt. Travis Lyman, a spokesman for Layton police, said Thursday a complaint was received and “and we have initiated an internal affairs investigation.” Read more…


Utah police officer resigns after ‘racist’ meme posted to Springfield NAACP President Talbert Swan’s Facebook page

A police officer from Layton, Utah, resigned after posting a racist meme to the Facebook Page of Bishop Talbert W. Swan II (shown above), president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP.
A police officer from Layton, Utah, resigned after posting a racist meme to the Facebook Page of Bishop Talbert W. Swan II (shown above), president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP. (DAVE ROBACK / THE REPUBLICAN [file])

SPRINGFIELD — A police officer in Layton, Utah, resigned on Friday after being accused of posting a racist meme on the Facebook page of Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP.

A Layton police spokesman said the department was “embarrassed and sorry” over the incident.

The officer, whose identify was not disclosed by Layton police, resigned one day after he was suspended from his job as a result of the incident, said Lt. Travis Lyman, the police spokesman who also serves as investigator for the department’s Internal Affairs Unit.  Read more…


Weekend concert in Amherst to benefit Springfield NAACP, Arise for Social Justice

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On Saturday, April 1, Social Justice groups and faith organizations will host a benefit concert to raise funds for the NAACP of Greater Springfield and Arise for Social Justice. (Third-Party-Submitted)

AMHERST — Advocacy and faith organizations in Amherst will host a benefit concert this weekend in support of the Greater Springfield NAACP and Arise for Social Justice. Read more…


Activists scold Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst for criticism of ‘black leadership’

Urban League President, Henry Thomas, City Councilor Justin Hurst, and Greater Springfield NAACP President, Bishop Talbert Swan, II      
City Councilor Justin Hurst criticized “Black Leadership in Springfield for its alleged failure to speak out on important racial issues. His criticism has sparked some activists to strike back, saying his comments were wrong and “insulting.”

The reaction followed Hurst criticizing local black leaders including the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP and the Urban League of Springfield for being among groups that rallied in support of Victoria Rowe, a young black appointee to the Springfield Historical Commission.

Hurst suggested the groups were rallied by the mayor’s office to support Rowe, while not being vocal on many other issues important to the black community.

Leaders of the two named groups fired back on Wednesday.

“To suggest – and I take this personally – to suggest that we were rallied by the mayor’s office and used as puppets is insulting,” said Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP. “And to suggest that we have not spoken to larger issues is equally insulting. I have been actively advocating for our community for the last three decades when he (Hurst) was playing on a playground somewhere.”

Henry Thomas III, president and chief executive officer of the Springfield Urban League, said he believes Hurst’s remarks were “unfortunate, but I respect his right to be wrong.”

“The Urban League, in its 103-year history, has never needed to be rallied to show up when its constituents are being treated unfairly,” Thomas said. “The issue of that evening was not about black, white or brown. It was simply about equity.

“A double standard for one’s participation in public service – Victoria Rowe – should not be tolerated irrespective of race,” Thomas said. “I am afraid Councilor Hurst missed the point of the evening badly.”

Justin Hurst critical of black leadership for focusing on Historical Commission appointment

Some members of the Springfield City Council were critical of the Mayor Domenic Sarno and two staff members, but approved the appointment of Victoria E. Rose, Shannon Walsh and Alfonso W. Nardi.

Among his comments, Hurst said he is “quite baffled when I take a look at the many significant issues that these same folks had a chance to make their voices heard on that this issue (Rowe) is the one that the ‘Black Leadership’ chose to hang their hats on.”

While Rowe’s appointment was approved by the City Council by a 12-1 vote, there was news that some councilors were opposed in advance of the vote, including Ward 4 Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, who questioned if Rowe had the experience in historic preservation issues to serve on the commission.

Twiggs voted for Rowe on Monday in crowded council chambers, with Hurst casting the only “no” vote. Both councilors are black.

Supporters of Rowe said they believed that Twiggs’ initial opposition was politically motivated because Rowe ran against him in the 2015 election, losing to Twiggs.

“… to suggest that we were rallied by the mayor’s office and used as puppets is insulting.” ~ Talbert Swan II

Twiggs denied any political motivation.

Hurst criticized the mayor’s chief of staff, Denise Jordan, and mayoral aide Darryl Moss, both black members of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s administration, saying the two “have repeatedly run black candidates against black incumbents for seats on the City Council and School Committee, thus ensuring the black community remains divided.”

Swan said it is misguided to think that the black community becomes divided if a black candidate runs against a black candidate. In a predominantly black ward, the likelihood of two black candidates running for the same seat is high, he said.

Talbert Swan criticizes opposition to Victoria Rowe's appointment

Talbert Swan criticizes opposition to Victoria Rowe’s appointment

Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, a plaintiff in past court cases that pushed for ward representation on the Springfield City Council, issued a statement on Thursday that criticized “the appearance of politics as usual” relating to controversy over the appointment of a new member to the Historical Commission.

“No one says a white community is divided if a white candidate challenges a white incumbent,” Swan said. “Further, it is somewhat insulting to suggest that simply because an incumbent is black, that black people have an obligation to support that individual. We are more intelligent as voters than to keep someone in office simply because they are black.”

Hurst, when contacted Wednesday evening, said he stands by everything he said.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Hurst said. “While I have heard the NAACP speak out on some issues, there has yet to be the level of coordination between the NAACP, the Urban League, clergy and other leaders around substantive issues that have a significant impact on the community. And this particular issue around the Rowe issue is not substantive.”

Hurst said it was obvious to him that the controversy on the Rowe appointment was “choreographed,” but he hopes the energy will be used to address more significant issues.

At-large City Councilor Bud L. Williams, said he agrees with Hurst that black leaders need to speak out more on the issues. Williams said he strives to do so himself as a black leader in the community.

“I think African American elected officials need to be more visible, more involved in the community such as attending neighborhood council meetings,” Williams said.

In addition, Williams said he plans to have a council subcommittee meeting on March 10 to discuss racial issues facing the city.

Among issues of importance to the community, Williams said there needs to be more focus on promoting jobs and training, minority hiring and minority-owned contractors.

“I will talk about things going on – the casino, residency, the Mill Street jail, race relations,” Williams said. “The black leadership should be at the forefront.”


Bishop Talbert Swan: Black Lives Matter cause is just, but Springfield protest disrespectful

Brian Steele | bsteele@masslive.com By Brian Steele | bsteele@masslive.com

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on April 16, 2015 at 7:00 AM

SPRINGFIELD – In response to Tuesday’s Black Lives Matter protest, which shut down the city’s busiest intersection as schools were letting out and resulted in 15 arrests, the leader of the local NAACP chapter said the demonstrators were right and wrong.

“Any time people engage in civil protest to voice their concerns about injustice, it’s a good thing,” said Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP and pastor of the Spring of Hope Church of God In Christ. “I completely disagree with the name-calling … I condemn that action.”

Dozens of protesters blocked off The X in Forest Park, chanted slogans including “F— the police” and called responding officers “pigs.” They were ordered to disperse; those who didn’t were arrested while everyone else was led away from the area by a large cadre of state and local police.

“When we do raise our voices, we have to do it in a responsible way in which we not only bring integrity to our cause, but also demonstrate a level of respect for those in law enforcement who are attempting to conduct their business,” said Swan. Read more…


Race matters: Bishop Talbert Swan, president of Greater Springfield NAACP, says no indictment in Ferguson case means “America has a long way to go” to bridge racial divide

Bishop Talbert Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, said he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the failure of a Missouri grand jury to hand up an indictment in the case of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, back in August. The case has sparked protests and unrest in the predominantly black St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Swan said the case proves that “America has a long way to go” in terms of bridging the racial divide and winning justice for young black men who are killed by police officers. Read more…


General Membership Meeting


Join members of the NAACP in our monthly membership meeting. The next meeting will take place Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the Spring of Hope Church Of God In Christ, 35 Alden Street, Springfield, MA.

File a Complaint with the Springfield Branch NAACP


Viewpoint: Timothy Leary case offers a test of sincerity and forgiveness

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Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, has given credit to Holyoke Fire Department officer Timothy Leary for the latter’s apology for a racial slur, perhaps opening the door to more conciliation, (Submitted photo)

Ron Chimelis | rchimelis@repub.com By Ron Chimelis | rchimelis@repub.com
Email the author
on October 02, 2014

In a culture where superficial political correctness and genuine bigotry are locked in daily battle, the case of Holyoke firefighter Timothy Leary looks like a drop in the bucket at first.

Leary’s case, though, is more important than that. It puts to the test the two competing elements of any such case: the matter of sincerity on the part of the embattled individual, and the level of forgiveness by a public that is served by him.

In 2012, Leary was caught on video, using a racial slur when referring to Holyoke City Council member Anthony Soto. The video became known to the public in February, inflaming a process in which Leary was in line to become a provisional lieutenant.

Leary and Soto have had a fractured history that dates to when Leary was president of the Holyoke Firefighters Association. That adds context to his attitude toward Soto, but in no way justifies the remark.

The incident brought a number of issues to the forefront: the video taping of a private conversation, the question of whether Leary could be trusted to protect Holyoke citizens if he truly disrespected a segment of them, and whether one comment should be used to judge a man whose official work record had been a good one. Read more…


Holyoke firefighter Timothy Leary apologizes for racial slur in letter to Greater Springfield NAACP President Rev. Talbert Swan, Mayor Alex Morse

Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse, left, and the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP. ((FILE PHOTOS))

HOLYOKE — In a letter addressed to Mayor Alex B. Morse and Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Timothy Leary apologized for his comments in a 2012 video.

The provisional Fire Department lieutenant made racially insensitive remarks regarding City Councilor Anthony Soto while off duty, speaking with owner of Hampshire Towing William Johnson in his South Hadley office.

The video came to light in February. On Aug. 8, Leary said he agreed to meet with the NAACP and Morse regarding his remarks.

Below is the full text of the letter, dated Sept. 26: Read more…


Hampden district attorney candidates field questions at NAACP forum in Springfield

by Stephanie Barry

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The Greater Springfield NAACP sponsored a debate between the Hampden district attorney candidates at Springfield Technical Community College on Tuesday evening in Springfield. Here Talbert Swan II introduces the candidates. From left is Swan, debate moderator Laura Hutchinson, and candidates Shawn Allyn, Hal Etkin, Anthony Gulluni and Brett Vottero. (The Republican photo by / Dave Roback)

SPRINGFIELD – The four Democratic candidates for Hampden district attorney worked to bring their messages to the public during a forum hosted by the local NAACP chapter on Tuesday.

The forum included questions from a three-member panel. It hit topics including prison overcrowding, police brutality and marijuana prosecutions, while audience members followed up with queries about recalcitrant witnesses and diversity.

It was the fourth public forum for candidates Shawn Allyn, a Holyoke attorney; Hal Etkin, a lawyer from Longmeadow; assistant prosecutor Anthony Gulluni, of Springfield; and former longtime prosecutor Brett Vottero, also of Springfield. The event at Springfield Technical Community College drew by far the largest crowd of all the forums and featured the most detailed questions to date. Read more…