By Lee Ragin
The Riverside Branch of the NAACP announced Wednesday that its executive committee has denied a recent request to rescind its award to Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach.
The request, submitted by an undisclosed outside party, disputed the merit of an award to honor Zellerbach who is currently running for re-election. Zellerbach was recently criticized for his alleged role in a political campaign incident when a campaign sign belonging to his opponent was taken down. The informal request via text message and email was submitted to branch President Waudieur “Woodie” Rucker-Hughes of the Riverside NAACP earlier this month.
Members of the executive committee chose to reject the dispute since the award did not breach any ethical code by the Riverside NAACP, which does not consider political elections in its award decisions. Zellerbach, who is being awarded in the “Law/Justice” category for his community involvement, is among many previous elected officials who have received an award from the NAACP in the local organization’s 72-year history of charter in Riverside.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Riverside NAACP explained, “We, the executive committee of the Riverside Branch of the NAACP, under the outstanding leadership of Waudieur (“Woodie”) Rucker-Hughes do not endorse any candidate for any political office. We do not respond or address any matters related to political campaigns. We, as the executive committee of the Riverside Branch of the NAACP, have deliberated and concluded that there will be no change made to our Freedom Fund Award recipients.”
The annual Freedom Fund Celebration will be held May 14 at the Riverside Convention Center.
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