By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia NAACP has elected a new president. The civil rights group has spent months embroiled in scandal after its former president was ousted following allegations of financial misconduct.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Eagles Players Talk To Media
Minister Rodney Muhammad was elected on Saturday to head the more than a century old NAACP chapter. The first Muslim to be elected into the top job, Muhammad says he has a lot of work to do to regain traction both internally and within communities of color.
“A lot of people were feeling that the NAACP was irrelevant,” he says, “but my feeling is as long as you’re willing to serve, you’re relevant.”
Muhammad says the new board of directors will announce a detailed platform in January, but their focus will be on quality of life issues that impact communities of color- like discrimination within the criminal justice system and gentrification.
“Historically the NAACP fought against lynching– today it’s not lynching it’s police brutality, the type of profiling the takes the life of Trayvon Martin,” says Muhammad. “Yesterday we were focused on segregation, we were being locked out. Today it’s gentrification, we’re being pushed out. We have to recalibrate how we approach our struggles today as opposed to yesterday, but they’re still the same.”
The new president says once he’s officially installed as president a major focus will be to bring in younger leadership, especially among millennial who have been taking the lead in protests over the death of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and many more.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Hosts Tropical Storm Ida Resource Recovery Virtual Town Hall
“We don’t need them to form another organization,” he says. “There’s enough they can do right here within the NAACP, we just have to make the room for them.”
Not everyone internally is happy with the process the NAACP used to elected Muhammad. Thomas Logan, who ran for president of the Philadelphia chapter against Muhammad alleges a variety of electoral missteps, including conflict of interests and voting abuses.
“I hope nationals will hear our appeal,” says Logan, who notes their deadline to file is Thursday. “This election sets a bad tone- I was running to rehabilitate and to unify the organization.”
Muhammad says he is doubtful the appeal will go very far.
“Our national office was in– the person who gives the final say on the authenticity on the election was there,” says Muhammad.MORE NEWS: 'Go On With Your Dog And Pony Show': Montgomery County Commissioners Clash During Thursday Board Meeting
Muhammad will take the helm in January. He says his focus will be on rallying the membership.