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Hudson Valley Press

June 4th, 2014

Local NAACP Provides Community Updates

NEWBURGH - The Newburgh/Highland Falls Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will begin a series of articles called "NAACP Updates".

It is important for branch members and community to recognize that the NAACP is a national organization established in 1909 and serves to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. The work of the NAACP is performed by committees. Although there are numerous committees, we are concentrating on what is known as the "five game changers". They are education, economic development, criminal justice, health and political action. The purpose of these "NAACP Updates" is to keep you informed and inspire you to not only join us, but become active members for the cause of justice.

On May 10, Chester Johnston, President of the NAACP, Deborah Fields, Secretary and Grace Bowles, Education Chairperson attended a state training session. The training session was presented by Hazel Dukes, New York State President of the NAACP and state committee chairpersons of the "five game changers". The purpose of this training allows each branch chairperson and committee members to be successful.

The Political Action Committee, Health Committee and Education Committee, game changer’s, were quite active during the months of April and May. Roxie Royal, chairperson of the political action committee, prepared for and presided over a forum for candidates seeking to be elected to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District Board of Education. This was a very informative forum and those in attendance stated that they were able to make a decision on the candidates that best represented their views. Roxie, also, attended a workshop hosted by the Landbank in which there was a discussion on homes and business sale. There was also a forum hosted by the NAACP, Club 60 and Black Ministerial Association called Newburgh Mainstreet Summit which Roxie attended. City of Newburgh is sponsoring a Sidewalk Replacement Program. Applications are at the Office of Planning & Development. Finally, she along with Chester Johnson; Deborah Fields attended the Greenetrack Presentation on the Casino in New Windsor.

The Health Committee Chairperson, Greer Cooper, has applied for a community health grant and is waiting to see if Newburgh/Highland Falls Branch will be chosen. This would allow the committee to advance the NAACP guiding principle: Physical and Emotional Good Health: Key to the Best Life.

The education committee consisting of Grace Bowles, Chairperson, Elaine Magwood, Merlyn Tyson, Esteen Williams and Peggy Wright met with Dr. Daniel Shanahan, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and Kevin Rothman, Principal of Excelsior Academy to discuss the student selection process for this academy. We discussed the language in the grant as to how students are to be selected and although, there is a loophole, in which they can deviate from the type of student that this academy is meant to serve, we expect that there will be representation along the lines of the district’s diversity. Also, our branch applied for and received a community/school grant. The grant is entitled "Lifted" and the school selected is GAMS Tech. We had our first meeting on Wednesday, May 14 and along with other school districts, NECSD representatives and NAACP education committee will attend a training session on June 7 at the state office headquarters in New York City.

Finally, we are always asked what is the NAACP doing? As you can see from the above, we are working with a few active members. We can do very little without members who are willing to work on the "five game changers". We are in need of a working economic development chairperson and committee members. Newburgh is in the mist of being revitalized and we need to be at the table. We are also in need of a working criminal justice chairperson and committee members. Injustices happening in Newburgh/Highland Falls are off the charts. Without the committee personnel, we are not able to help individuals who come to us. The few that are working can do but so much so please come and join us Thursday, June 5. Our meeting will be held at Holy Trinity Church, 44 Chamber Street, Supt. John Borden, Pastor. At this meeting our state Legal Redress Chairperson, Leroy Gadsden will present a workshop on Interacting With Law Enforcement followed by a question/answering period.

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