DANVILLE — It has been about one year since a group of local residents began the process of bringing back a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Danville had been without a local chapter for several years after it was deactivated by the national organization.
With help from the Illinois NAACP and the Champaign County NAACP chapter, the group has organized a new chapter of the NAACP in Danville Chapter 3009. The group now has 87 members registered and in active status.
Anna Sykes, president of the local NAACP chapter, is very passionate about the organization.
“Our goal is education, civil rights, political awareness and empowerment,” Sykes said, explaining the goals of the group.
“I think our focus along with that of the national organization is in voter registration, as well as protecting voters’ rights.”
Lynn Foster, Vermilion County clerk and a member of the local chapter, reiterated Sykes’ vision for the chapter.
“The local NAACP chapter has a tremendous county history in different projects,” Foster said. “Empowerment is a really important part of this organization, as well as protecting the voters’ rights.”
City Alderman Kevin Davis was instrumental in resurrecting the local chapter.
“I felt that there were certain issues in the community that are not being looked at,” Davis said. “We need to look at economic issues, as well as working at better relationships among our residents.”
Sykes, along with Patricia Avery, president of the Champaign County NAACP, recently met with Congressman John Shimkus, District 15, concerning proposed changes to the Voter’s Rights Act.
“As the Congress begins to work on restructuring the Voter’s Rights Act, we wanted to know what the congressman’s thoughts were and to make him aware of our concerns,” Sykes said.
At the chapter’s monthly meeting Thursday night, a look around the room showed that the local chapter has made substantial progress in bringing together a group of people from a wide spectrum.