The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

January 21, 2014

NAACP chapter hopes to rebuild

Meeting planned to discuss future

DANVILLE — Local leaders of Danville’s long-running NAACP chapter are continuing a push to bring the organization back to prominence again.

The local group — Chapter 3009 — underwent a re-organization in mid-2013 after falling into inactive status in the eyes of the lead chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. State NAACP President George Mitchell came to Danville to assist in the reorganization.

Organizers have set a meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday at New Direction Treatment, 153 N. Vermilion St., to discuss the direction and future of the local organization that has seen membership dwindle in recent years.

Ann Sykes is the new president of the local NAACP following last year’s organization. She said the meeting will help to introduce herself to the membership body and the re-formed group to the community as well.

“I’m a person really committed to my job and the mission of the NAACP,” she said.

Since last year’s reorganization, she said the local NAACP has around 100 members signed up so far.

“It’s a challenge to keep them engaged, informed and committed about our branch here in Danville,” Sykes said.

She added the meeting’s intent is to introduce the concepts and mission statement of the national NAACP office to members, both first-time and former.

“We want to inform them about what the organization is about,” Sykes said. “A lot of people don’t know what the NAACP stands for today.”

The vision statement of the organization calls for membership to work to “ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.” Its mission includes political, education, social and economic equality.

Sykes said the members continued to do the work of the NAACP even while it was considered inactive, noting they continued to try to assist people they believed were in crisis.

“We are about getting the job done,” she said.

Now, with the organization re-organized and in active status, Sykes said she wants to reach out to community members as a whole — not just a particular group — to join the effort.

“There is diversity in the NAACP,” she said. “We have to have dialog and you have to have that with someone.”

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