Everson: Speech standards apply to all types of people

Georgia's first black Republican to win a contested election knows something about dealing with racism.

But Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snell-

ville, wants the standards of racially charged speech to be applied to all segments of the population.

Everson last week sent out a statement about the controversial statements of former radio personality Don Imus as well as the comments of his House colleague Roberta Abdul-Salaam.

After a committee failed to act on Abdul-Salaam's proposal to hang a portrait of Coretta Scott King in the Capitol, the Democrat from Riverdale lashed out, using some of the same words that Imus used to described the Rutgers women's basketball team.

"It is just like calling Mrs. King a nappy-headed (n-word)," Abdul-Salaam told reporters.

Everson, who said he's been asked his opinion by many friends and constituents, thinks both Imus and Abdul-Salaam should be chastised for their speech.

"In this day and age, words like this should be eliminated from people's minds and hearts," Everson said about Imus.

"However, I am equally as upset with Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam due to her emotional outburst and comment in front of the House State Institution and Property committee when her proposal to hang a portrait of Coretta Scott King was rejected. Being African-American did not give her the right to make such comments."

Everson said he was disappointed that black leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton were quick to criticize Imus but never addressed Abdul-Salaam's statements.

"No one should use such destructive words," he wrote in a statement. "Everyone who uses this kind of language should be denounced. The African-American community should be the first ones held to this standard, not the last."

Convention results

Gwinnett's GOP has two conventions down and one to go.

Last weekend, the 7th Congressional District Convention was held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

B.J. VanGundy, a former county party chairman, held onto his district chairmanship, which will allow him to serve on the state party's executive board.

The district, which is represented by John Linder in Congress, includes Gwinnett, Walton and Barrow counties as well as portions of Newton and Forsyth.

VanGundy said last weekend's convention went much more quickly than the county party convention last month, as all of the candidates for office were unopposed.

"As district chairman, I'm fortunate to have five strong county parties," VanGundy said. "I'm here to support them all."

Next on the agenda for area Republicans is the May 18 - 19 state convention, which will be held at the Gwinnett Civic Center.

Congressional race

While Gwinnettians won't get to vote, a couple of locals are on the ballot for the 10th District Congressional seat left vacant when U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood died in February.

Ten candidates plunked down $4,950 each last week to run in the June 19 special election, and the list includes Republicans Mark Myers of Loganville and Bill Greene of Braselton.

Only four of the candidates live in the 10th District. Candidates for the U.S. House are only required to live in the state they're seeking to represent, not the district.

Lilburn event

Residents can serenade the Lilburn City Council on Monday.

The board, which has recently faced criticism for banning active entertainment such as karaoke in places that serve alcohol, is hosting a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The council members will hold a meet and greet and staffers will give updates on recent activities. Residents will also be given an opportunity to talk about issues.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.