The St. Petersburg Branch NAACP has ended 2018 continuing to manage the mission of the NAACP, which is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
The work is not for the faint of heart. During this past year, the leadership and the general membership of the St. Pete Branch have pushed forward with a clearly defined focus on the social and economic issues that continue to plague Africans within St. Petersburg.
In Jan., we celebrated the legacy of African people by hosting our annual Emancipation Proclamation Service at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church. We also hosted our very successful Freedom Fund Celebration under a tent with more than 600 guests present.
The majority of the advocacy work this year has been focused on education as evidenced of the work to build a coalition of community stakeholders around what the branch has called a major civil rights issue—the lack of black students passing the Florida State Assessment. This is in part because many of our babies can’t read with understanding.
Midterm elections and the need to educate our community on the referendums, host candidate forums and register voters in conjunction with other stakeholders became the center of the work in preparation for last election cycle.
The community was in an uproar at how the military-style enforcement by the St. Petersburg Police Department overshadowed the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The community coordination committee has spent months meeting and talking with city council members and the community, seeking a resolution to ensure that 2019 is not a repeat of this year.
The NAACP heard the cries, and in spite of the numbers that showed up to voice their anger, it has been the St. Petersburg Branch NAACP that has remained steadfast in the battle to ensure that the celebration we hold in honor of Dr. King is worthy of the legacy he left.
To hear more about our accomplishments, challenges and plans for 2019, please plan to attend the St. Petersburg Branch NAACP’s annual meeting next Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S.
Maria L. Scruggs, President
St. Petersburg Branch NAACP