NAACP seeks to address Imperial Valley's social and economic needs
The newly sworn-in local NAACP board stands with Judge Juan Ulloa at Saturday's meet-and-greet at Denny's in El Centro. Left to right, front row: Linda Thomas, treasurer; Diana Shelton, head of education committee; Joyce Gentry, secretary; Desiree Johnson, youth department; Bishop Darren Wilson. Left to right, back row: Wallace Phillips, president; Dion McFadden, first vice president; Willie Carter, second vice president. (ANTOINE ABOU-DIWAN PHOTO / February 9, 2013)
“We need more teen mentoring and after school programs,” said NAACP local chapter President Wallace Phillips.
People oftentimes complain about kids, Phillips said.
“What have you done for them?” he said. “We’re losing our youth to the streets. How can we be of assistance in their endeavors to be fruitful?” he said.
To that end, the local chapter of the NAACP held a meet-and-greet at Denny’s in El Centro Saturday evening, where new officers were sworn in.
El Centro resident and past president of the local chapter, Marlene Thomas, said that employment is crucial to the NAACP’s purpose in the Imperial Valley.
“Blacks represent 13 percent of elected officials, yet employment is the lowest it’s been in years,” she said.
Second Vice President Willie Carter said that area’s high unemployment rate, combined with a mindset that certain jobs are unattainable, present extra challenges to
“There are jobs here,” he said. “We need to help people to think more progressively, outside the box,” he said.
The local NAACP chapter became inactive a few years ago. The reason, Phillips said, is because the group had lost its focus.
“The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based racism” said Phillips, quoting the organization’s mission statement.
“If we make a decision not in tune with that, will we last long?” he said.
Staff Writer Antoine Abou-Diwan can be reached at 760-337-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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