NORWALK, Conn. — Jalin Sead would like to be the next Norwalk branch NAACP President and is beginning his campaign early.
Sead announced this morning, ahead of today’s Juneteenth celebration, that he is running to replace Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams. The election is in November.
“My intentions aren’t to divide or tear her down as a leader, I have a different leadership style and different opinion on my vision. Nothing against her, I’d love to work with her,” Sead said. “… I think the community needs something new. I think that the civil rights in Norwalk needs a breath of fresh air.”
Attempts to reach Penn-Williams Thursday were unsuccessful.
Sead’s platform includes creating an African American Chamber of Commerce for Norwalk and working with “our city’s top fitness and nutrition experts to help get us healthy.”
“We’re living in unprecedented times. And it’s time for new and unconventional solutions. I know the challenges ahead, and I know that it’s not an easy task. But we cannot keep facing these problems in the same manner we have for far too long” Sead said, in a video he released at midnight. “… As a team, we will move from a system of reaction to organization of proactive solutions for the advancement of our people.”
Sead, 27, is a Fair Housing Commissioner and was recently appointed a First Taxing District Commissioner. He works at Hocon Gas in accounts payable and customer service, and founded JCA Outreach to advocate and provide mentoring for the youth, earning him the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at NFTE’s (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) annual Dare to Dream gala in April, 2011.
The lifelong Norwalker sought to be Norwalk NAACP President in 2016, when Darnell Crosland stepped down, losing to Penn-Williams. In 2017, he left the NAACP and founded Connecticut Coalition For Change (CC4C). He’s on the Democratic Town Committee and has served as treasurer.
Sead has led three recent protests, two in Norwalk. He went to four or five protests in other towns, where no one knows him, because he wanted the perspective of people in the crowd.
There’s a passion, a need for change, he said Thursday. “I think a lot of people are listening… even people who really before didn’t really take notice of the Black Lives Matter movement. I think now their eyes are open to what is going on and I was excited to see that people really want change now.”
Young people, people younger than him, are taking the lead, he said. He’s been marching with them and listening, to build trust.
“A lot of young people lost hope in (the NAACP) or think it’s like some secret society and they don’t know how you could join and become active pretty easily,” he said. “I think that’s across the board with politics and everything. They just don’t know that you can do it. I think they’re ready. I mean, I know they’re ready to really go and I just have to prove myself to them.”
Sead has released a video, hoping to recruit people via social media. Last time, he didn’t make an announcement until August or September, he said. But there’s a deadline – you have to have been a paying member for 30 days before the election to be able to vote.
“I think there’s work to be done to have people buy in to the program. I hope people enjoy the video,” he said.
In the video, Sead describes himself as a dedicated family man. He’s married and the father of Jalin, Jr., who will turn two in August, he explained to NancyOnNorwalk. He’s also very close to his siblings, aunts and uncles, and his mother, who raised five kids by herself.
Sead has helped organize Juneteenth weekend to promote black businesses. There are more Norwalk black businesses than people think, and just from the people who reached out to him he knows of 30 or 40, he said.
“The problem that I have seen is that they are really registered with the City,” he said. “They’re selling stuff but they don’t know really know like the process and everything.”
That’s why a Chamber of Commerce will help, just as it did for the Latino community, he said.
The new youth movement doesn’t want to kick out the older generation but hopes to add energy, he said, “really not just myself, Darius (Williams) and Kadeem (Roberts), or Eloisa (Melendez) as a Latino leader but also bringing in some younger African Americans and Latinos into the picture of not just politics but civil rights and activism.”
“We have lost neighborhoods to gentrification,” Sead said in the video. “Key African American educators have been targeted and our children continue to fall through the cracks in our school system. It is very clear that we have a serious racism problem covertly and overtly, right here in Norwalk. So why me? Because I care. And I understand that being a successful president requires effective and energized membership. I recognize the fragilities in our city that needs to be addressed, and I’m ready to change the narrative. Because I too have once fell victim to the social, political and economic disparities that are still prevalent in Norwalk today. It is now the time that we come together as one to change the trajectory of our community.”