My article from earlier today, detailing the story of Samuel Rodriguez and highlighting the many individuals and institutions that have worked with him, has received a quick and significant reply from the Rev. Derrick Harkins. As I explained in my article, Harkins is publicized on the advisory board of Rodriguez’s NHCLC organization at the NHCLC’s website and promotional materials. Harkins’ seeming alliance with Rodriguez is one of the puzzling aspects of the Rodriguez story given the fact that Harkins has been the head of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee. Fortunately, Harkins has immediately and unequivocally cleared up the story with his public comment to my article. I post here his comment in its entirety, noting that it corroborates the general timeline I presented in my article and that it once again calls into question the integrity of the NHCLC’s presentation of itself to the public. If Harkins has “no association with NHCLC” then why does Rodriguez continue to feature him as a supporter of his controversial mission? Are there other figures who the NHCLC publicly claims to be in support of them who are similarly unaware of their actions?
I wanted to take a moment to let you know that that it came as a surprise to me that I was still listed as an Advisory Board member to the NHCLC. I have not had any connection with them or Sam Rodriguez in more than six years, and stand at polar opposites with Rev. Rodriguez on most issues. At the time when immigration reform was being debated in Congress (2006-2007), I was one of a very few African American clergy to voice my support. I gladly collaborated with a number of groups working toward the same end. Unfortunately since then Rev. Rodriguez has embraced some perspectives that differ from my own. I have no association with NHCLC, or the advisory board in any way, and will inform them to remove any reference to me. Thank You Derrick Harkins