News of Otsego County

Lee Fisher

FISHER: Justice For All – Let’s Live Up To Ideals


NAACP’s President:

Let’s Live Up To Ideals

At the “Rally for Justice” Sunday, June 7, on the Otsego County Courthouse steps in Cooperstown, NAACP President Lee Fisher drew a lesson from the other speakers: America needs to live up to its founding principles. (Jim Kevlin/

Editor’s Note: Lee Fisher, president of the NAACP, Oneonta chapter, delivered this address Sunday, June 7, at the Rally for Justice on the Otsego County Courthouse steps in Cooperstown.

By LEE FISHER • Special to

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all humans are created (and treated) equal with certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Now more than ever this nation must live up to the obligations imposed upon it by the Emancipation Proclamation.

How far has it gone in assuring to each and every citizen, irrespective of our color, the equality of opportunity and equality before the law guaranteed in the Constitution?

The murder of George Floyd by what is considered a “bad acting” policeman was a horrific, unspeakable tragedy. A routine arrest becomes a de facto execution. The protests we are witnessing all around the country are not just from the killing of Brianna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Trayvon Martin in Florida or Eric Gardner in New York. People are demanding change in America.

We should not just be here only for the senseless murder of George Floyd but the discriminatory practice about everyday issues such as a living wage, affordable housing, the cost of higher education, voter suppression, red lining and the list goes on.

In her book, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou said, if you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking – massive groups of people want change.

Everyone should be on the side of fairness and equality. The massive protests we see are urgent responses to the systemic racism that has afflicted and torn apart our communities, not just the past few months but, for blacks, 400 years of a type of Apartheid.

People in the privileged class many times don’t understand just how difficult it is to face the injustices that threaten people of color’s personal safety, as we witnessed with George Floyd and many more too numerous to mention – because of institutional systemic racism, not just everyday but for 400 years.

Dr. King’s Dream for America was already delivered 57 years ago – 57 years – and 400 years of carefully planned institutional racism. How much time is needed, America?

America. America, we are being called out by the whole world. America, we can’t be in hiding in plain sight anymore. It’s great that all of us are here – but you don’t get credit for just showing up. We must put this energy that we are now peacefully in protest marches, speeches, demonstrations – and this must be transformed into real action in November. If you want change, go to the polls and vote.

America, we can’t hide anymore in plain sight because we are being watched from a distance
not just here but around the world. Do we really mean what we say when we pledge allegiance.

If you really say America stands for liberty and justice for all with your right hand over your heart – waving an American Flag – ask yourself: Is America true, honest and loyal to what that flag symbolizes as a Christian nation?

Is it okay to stand in front of a church with a Bible upside down and backward and say, come on guys, join me in this photo shoot while protesters had to get pepper-sprayed.

What’s wrong with that picture? America, we can’t hide anymore in plain sight. If America stands for its colors – red, white and blue – remember, those colors stand for black, white, brown, yellow, red, straight and gay.

Let’s to the right thing.

This is our opportunity to call for America to stand up tall and begin the task of healing these open wounds inflicted by America’s system of systemic racism.

America we can’t hide anymore in plain sight. We have been walking around racism, discrimination bigotry and hatred – and not dealing with it directly.

Remember every time you pledge allegiance to the flag. We America, must as a nation, as one nation under God, not divided, together with liberty and justice for all, go forward shoulder to shoulder, arm and arm, working together in understanding, peace
and love.

Letter From Oneonta NAACP: Outraged? Yes! We Exclaim, ‘Not Again’

Outraged? Yes!

We Exclaim, ‘Not Again’

When we saw the heinous act of another black man, George Floyd, intentionally being held down by four relaxed policemen and George not resisting arrest, but resisting suffocation and pleading “I can’t breathe, please let me stand,” it makes us return to the actions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It was difficult to watch one policeman putting his knee with increased pressure on Mr. Floyd’s neck and three policemen watching until another black man’s life was painfully lost.

We could go back to Emmett Till in Mississippi, Ronna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., Eric Garner in New York City, Trayvon Martin and just a few weeks ago, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, shot dead running through a predominately white neighborhood, along with many others too numerous to list or mention.

We are not surprised, we are angry. Yes, again we are shocked when most of these killings we have
witnessed, through new technology – except Emmett Till – result usually without immediate arrest. When these incidents happen they continually make your blood pressure spike for weeks, but we are not surprised of the bad police action throughout our nation and time and time again our justice system not resolving cases.

Shocked? No. Surprised? No. Outraged? Yes! And we exclaim, “Not again!” When is enough going to be enough? A national communication process will certainly not even start with this person presently living in the “wrong house” for three years.

Thursday evening, May 28, Joanne and I participated, along with 1,200 others, in a webinar presented by Derrick Johnson, CEO & president of our National NAACP, and panelist including presidents of the Minneapolis, Georgia, Louisville, New York Branches, each explaining the situations happening in their communities, what they are doing to resolve their immediate problems but also what they are doing with actions moving ahead.

President Derrick Johnson strongly emphasized that if change is to be made, people must use positive energy to complete the Census, get to the polls on Nov. 4, and make a concerted effort to know your legislators and community leaders.

As our vice president, Michelle Osterhoudt, stated in her memo to each of you – “Talk about it, denounce social injustice, raise awareness and most importantly, join your local NAACP.” These are the way that you can make your communities stronger.



Lee Fisher is president of the

NAACP, Oneonta chapter.

Oneonta NAACP Calls For ‘Positive Energy’ In Response To Death

Oneonta NAACP Calls

For ‘Positive Energy’

In Response To Death

ONEONTA – Lee Fisher, Oneonta area NAACP president, released a letter this morning calling for citizens to make their communities stronger in the wake of the murder of George Lloyd, the black man who was pinned down and suffocated by Minneapolis police officers.

“When we saw the heinous act of another black man, George Floyd, intentionally being held down by four relaxed policemen and George not resisting arrest, but resisting suffocation and pleading ‘I can’t breathe, please let me stand,’ it makes us return to the actions during the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s,” Fisher wrote.

OJCA Inducts Nine Into Community Hall Of Fame

Job Corps Inducts 9 Into

Community Hall Of Fame

Oneonta Job Corps kicked off the 6th annual Community Softball game in Damaschke Field on Friday evening as OJCA Director Chis Kuhn, Bob the Bulldog and Jocelyn Plows honored Kristen Winn, FRN, Michelle Zuk, FRN,Lee and Joanne Fisher,NAACP, Sonia Shultis, Tribe Yoga, Molly Swain, community leader & activist, Lynn Bailey, YMCA, Valarie Adams, United Way, and Kimberly Lorraine, United Way, by inducting them into the OJCA Community Partnership Hall Of Fame. Many local service organizations tabled at the event and raffled off backpacks of school supplies to area youth. The came concluded with a spectacular fireworks display. (Ian Austin/
Freedom, Suffrage Signs On View At MLK Day Event

Freedom, Suffrage Signs

On View At MLK Day Event

Historical markers commemorating New York State’s freeing the slaves in 1827 and Susan B. Anthony’s visit to Cooperstown in 1855 greeted attendees at this evening’s Special Worship Service marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now underway at this hour at First Presbyterian Church, Cooperstown. Inset, the Rev. LaDana Clark, Oneonta, sings out a rendering of “I’m Going To Praise My God All Over This Land.” Attendees, who read and listened to excerpts on the history of race relations in Otsego County, included Lee Fisher, NAACP/Oneonta chapter president. (Jim Kevlin /

Delgado Thanks Volunteers, Supporters In Oneonta

At Oneonta Victory Event,

Delgado Thanks Supporters

Just back from his Washington D.C. initiation, Congressman-elect Antonio Delgado, D-19, thanks volunteers at a victory gathering this afternoon at his Oneonta field office on Dietz Street.  Delgado thanked all the volunteers and supporters who, he said, knocked on more than 200,000 doors on the days leading up to the Nov. 6 midterms to encourage people to get out and vote. Following his speech, people lined up the thank the Delgado and get their pictures taken with him. Above, Oneonta’s NAACP President Lee Fisher and wife Joanne congratulate Delgado on his victory over Congressman John Faso. (Ian Austin/

70 Honor Ex-Slave Who Chose ‘Freedom’ As His Adopted Name

70 Honor Ex-Slave Who Chose

‘Freedom’ As  His Adopted Name

Boy Scout Tim Simmons, Troop 9, Edmeston, plays taps this afternoon after a historical marker was unveiled honoring Cato Freedom at the Butternut Valley Cemetery, Town of Burlington, where he is buried.  A former slave from Norwich, Conn., he won his freedom for fighting with Gen. Ebenezer Huntington’s Continental troops during the American Revolution.  More than 70 local historians and history enthusiasts gathered today as Lee Fisher of the NAACP, Oneonta chapter, recounted what is known about the man who moved to Otsego County in 1816 with wife and two teenage daughters, buying 33 acres of land for $333.33.  While Hartwick College’s U.S. Colored Troops Institute has identified three blacks who moved to Central New York after fighting the British, Cato Freedom’s is the only gravesite identified so far.  Fisher is standing next to new marker, as it OCHA President Deb Mackenzie (maroon blouse).At right, Deb Rood of West Burlington pauses at Freedom’s gravestone after the ceremony, organized by the Otsego County Historical Association, the NAACP and the USCTI.  (Jim Kevlin/




1960s Mantra Is Updated Today

By Outpouring At Sufi Enclave

Five "American Patriots Against Jihad" motorcycles and five vehicles pass by Islamberg this afternoon, a much-feared confrontation that was over in a few seconds. (Ian Austin/
Five “American Bikers United Against Jihad” motorcycles and five of their vehicles pass by a supportive crowd in front of Islamberg this afternoon, a much-feared confrontation that was over in a few seconds. (Ian Austin/


Oneonta NAACP President Lee Fisher tells a celebration that follows: "When we shoed up like we did today we tured a lot of evil-doers away."
Oneonta NAACP President Lee Fisher tells a celebration that follows: “When we showed up like we did today, we turned a lot of evil-doers away.”

ISLAMBERG – In the end, love won.

Five-hundred supporters from Oneonta, Cooperstown, Hancock and as far as South Carolina and Georgia stood united with the residents of Islamberg this afternoon against about a dozen “American Bikers United Against Jihad.”

The motorcyclists had threatened to harass the Muslim community en masse.  But today, only five bikers and five vehicles drove past the Sufi community on a dirt road between Routes 11 and 17 in Delaware County.

Even after it was over, the “American Bikers” website was claiming 74 attended.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103