Clearwater NAACP under new leadership and new direction

CLEARWATER – NAACP, Clearwater Upper/Pinellas County Branch, returns a former Past President, Marva Wingfield McWhite as the newly elected president of the Branch.

Returning to the helm effective, McWhite’s focus is revitalizing the branch, while restoring trust in the community. Her main emphasis is on civil rights issues and being a voice for those who cannot or will not speak for themselves.

Serving Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina as a district directress of Civil Liberties for the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elk of the World, McWhite believes that issues and concerns mirror, compliment and collaborate with one another and can all be solved by empowering our community with economic and educational opportunities.

Some of McWhite’s major concerns and resolve will include:

  • What is being done in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties that affect the African-American communities within our neighborhoods.

  • Social responsibility of local corporations, the hiring of minorities in upper level positions, the supplier diversity efforts of the city and county government.

  • The school board’s educational programs for at-risk minorities.

  • Voter registration, including the restoration of rights for felons who have paid their debt to society.

  • Education and youth issues within the school system, including programs that are targeted for certain schools that may not include African-American students.

She expressed regret that the federal desegregation lawsuit Bradley vs. Board of Education is back at the forefront after 50 years because of broken promises by the Pinellas County School Board, and that the NAACP has to go back to court in a bid to force school leaders to aid struggling black students.

McWhite stated that if we are not careful history will repeat itself in other aspects of our lives as well.

“We must not go into a deep sleep on these issues and it seems that we can’t even get a good nap in.” she added.

As a member of the Springtime Club, Inc., McWhite also has concerns about what is going on with our youth and the young African-American men in the streets due to their actions or the actions of others. Crime prevention has been the heart of the Springtime Club’s campaign for the last five years, and the NACCP has spent decades fighting the epidemic of black on black crime in America’s African-American communities.

McWhite’s goal is to build a strong local NAACP Youth Council to address some these issues including bullying. She believes that with the help of the National NAACP’s Education Department and Youth and College Divisions, local youth and young adults can make a significant difference and real impact in our schools and neighborhoods with the assistance of the Adult Branch.

Having served as the first Florida State ACT-SO chair, (Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympics) she has a passion for the organization, which is a competition in the arts and sciences among high school African-American students.

She boasts of national winners who have become influential and successful adults that were sponsored through the local branch under her tutelage. McWhite admirably stated that though she was the first state ACT-SO chair, it was Doris Hart of Miami who put Florida on the map as the 2nd chair who steered the state to world recognition, and the late Vernon Garrett who had the vision to start such a worthwhile program where everything is entertained with the exception of sports.

McWhite also boast of the dynamic team that is in place to support her and the branch in her returning role as president. That team includes Zebbie (Zeb) Atkinson IV serving as 1st vice president; Lee Davis, 2nd vice; Melissa Collie, secretary; Brittany Frye, assistant secretary; Steve Sorrells, treasurer; Rose Evans, assistant treasurer and Bertha Kelly and Kellis Glenn, who both serve as members at large.

She states that with this team, her chairpersons and active members, many whom have just returned with new hope in this new administration, that she expects great things.

“God is pleased and has blessed us and our steps, we pray, are ordered for accountability,” she asserted.

She also expressed gratitude for the vote of confidence demonstrated by returning her to the position as President.

McWhite said that the NAACP, Clearwater Upper/Pinellas County Branch stand ready to serve the community traditionally under the guise of civil rights and civil liberties and that the work has already begun.

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