By Kate Franch
Are we at the tipping point? Are Americans finally willing to fully embrace and engage in the work of creating a truly equal, equitable, and just country? Millions of us have taken to the street to emphatically say yes. I can’t help but wonder what the crowds would look like without COVID-19 in the mix.
If you have joined in this urgent call for action in some form or another, thank you. There are numerous ways through which each of us can be a part of the reckoning and reordering that is long past due. Of course, vote; in addition, be active in your precinct, support candidates fighting for change, lobby legislators, participate in community dialogues, and challenge family, friends, and neighbors to question personal bias, bigotry, and prejudice.
Here at home, I invite you to become a member of the Greenville Branch of the NAACP. This is not an exclusive invitation – there are many worthwhile groups doing important dismantling and advocacy work – but I have a particular personal affiliation to this branch. I’ve been a proud member for a decade and have served as assistant secretary for the last four years. While our numbers have increased in recent months, for far too long, far too few of my white sisters and brothers have attended events, much less officially joined.
The NAACP is the nation’s largest and leading civil rights organization. Founded in 1909, by 48 white and seven black activists, the NAACP’s vision is to “ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.” (learn more at naacp.org) Members work to answer the simple call of Fannie Lou Hamer: “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
Pre-pandemic, the organization held monthly membership meetings (every second Sunday at 4 pm), hosted an annual Life Membership Prayer Breakfast and the iconic Freedom Fund Banquet, championed talented high school students in scholastic and artistic pursuits through the ACT-SO Program, connected citizens with legal redress resources, pushed for accountability and just standards reform in law enforcement, advocated for equitable treatment in the public schools and underserved communities, registered and educated voters, initiated a joint community Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Board, and was planning a Racial Equity and Inclusion Forum. I could go on. The list is long and we have more ideas that we’d like to implement. We’re doing what we can through remote connection at this time and will return full force when in-person meetings can safely resume.
But we need more voices, we need more hands, we need a broad representation of all of Grenville County’s citizens in order to be as influential and effective as possible – in short, we need you.
And, if not now, when?Basic adult membership is $30 per year (youth is $10) and includes a subscription to the quarterly Crisis magazine. A new member should be sponsored by a current member, so feel free to contact me at 919-417-6406 if you are interested. I’m happy to answer any questions.