In the aftermath of last week’s shocking controversy involving a “black mammy” Christmas calendar distributed to residents of Bradley Creek at Carolina Bay Health Center, The Wilmington Journal, at the invitation of Jeff Wilson, the chief operating officer of Liberty Health Management, Bradley Creek’s parent company, submitted questions for him to answer about why the racist holiday calendar came about in the first place.
The Journal asked Mr. Wilson to respond to the questions by Tuesday of this week, but on Monday, Wilson forwarded the following email: “Bradley Creek has been made aware of the possibility of legal action. As a result, it would not be appropriate to provide further comment.”
Wilson continued, “We acknowledge the offensive nature of this image and again sincerely apologize for its use.”
Apparently, Bradley Creek is concerned that the Black former employee it “suspended until further notice” after she took a picture of the offensive calendar and gave it to the NCNAACP may sue the company for its punitive action against her.
Marvelia Jackson, who worked as a medical technician at Bradley Creek and was one of two Black staffers to complain about the “slave lady” calendar to management, forcing them to retrieve all of the calendars distributed four days after they were originally given out, may indeed have a legal case against Bradley Creek, says Attorney Irving Joyner, Chairman of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee.
“I surmise that Ms. Jackson has a viable employment discrimination claim for her wrongful dismissal, based on race and retaliation, for the reporting of the action of the [Activity Director] in circulating the racist poster,” Joyner told The Wilmington Journal. “Further investigation is needed to determine if there is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in operating an all-white nursing home which is receiving federal, and possibly state, monies.”
“The NC NAACP has not been in conversation with the company and typically leaves that contact up to the local branch to flush out the facts and need for other legal or administrative actions.”
That means that the New Hanover County NAACP branch is the tip of the spear in this situation. The Journal can confirm that representatives of the branch met with Ms. Jackson Monday and, possibly, Tuesday as well. During their press conference last Friday, NHC NAACP Chapter Pres., Deborah Dix Maxwell, declared that they were indeed investigating, and would determine if civil rights legal action was needed.
Whether that is what CCO Jeff Wilson, of Liberty Health Management, was reacting to is not clear.
Meanwhile, the Activity Director at Bradley Creek at Carolina Bay, who was responsible for the racist Christmas calendar that displayed an old image of a black mammy saying “Merry Christmas,” was fired after the Wilmington Journal first and exclusively broke the story December 7th.
In an online message sent to The Journal the following evening, Jennifer Dicicco Alaimo, the former Activity Director, wrote, “This is Jenny. At this time I think it best to not say anything.”
Alaimo was responding to a written request by online message from The Wilmington Journal, requesting an interview to get her side of the story as to why she chose what is generally considered a demeaning old racist image to place on a Christmas calendar listing the events for senior residents for the month of December.
That calendar was distributed to residents at Bradley Creek on December 1st and hung on display until two Black staffers saw it and complained to management about it. The calendars were then taken back from distribution of Monday, Dec. 4th.
“I heard from family members that the residents are upset over my termination,” Ms. Alaimo continued. “I am not ‘thoughtless.’ I will talk to you when things settle down. The residents are my first priority.”
When The Journal acknowledged that not speaking now was her choice and that it will be respected until such time as she is ready, Ms. Alaimo replied, “Thank you for respecting my wishes and my love for my residents. I’ll be in touch soon.”
At press time Tuesday, The Journal had not heard back from Ms. Alaimo.