Last week members of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) gathered to reactivate the St. Petersburg branch of the 106-year-old organization. A brand new panel of leaders was elected to serve in their respected capacities.
Maria Scruggs was chosen to lead the St. Petersburg branch as its new president. I was honored to have been nominated by School Board member Rene Flowers to serve as second vice president. I admit I was reluctant at first, but I was reminded by the words of my uncle, Clarence Givens: “Much is required by those who have so much to offer others.”
I couldn’t be another critic. I couldn’t be someone who delights in criticizing others, rather than offering a realistic solution. The reorganization of the NAACP is an opportunity for a new generation of activists to prove that we are ready to serve and more importantly, we are ready to fight for social justice and equality.
A lack of interest in minority related causes have weakened our voice within our very own communities. We have become too dependent on outside resources and we’ve forgotten what it means to demand our fair share, even if it may require peaceful protest. As long as we hold one another accountable, I have faith that the new slate of NAACP officers will return to the core values of the organization: political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons. Eliminating race-based discrimination.
The new officers and executive committee will be a breath of fresh air for the City of St. Petersburg, offering new solutions to the problems plaguing our neighborhoods such as gun violence, drugs and a lack of quality schools. It’s important that we understand the work cannot be accomplished alone. It will require sacrifices and effort on everyone’s behalf.
Some change is good, but I acknowledge that some is not. We must go forward by hope and not backwards by fear. We must work with those who are more seasoned and mature while taking into account that the times have changed and the voices of the youth are more imperative now than ever before. We must bridge the gap in the lack of communication between the two generations. Is it is my hope that the new NAACP will be the change that we are in such desperate need of here in St. Petersburg.
I’d also implore all my fellow young brothers and sisters to get involved and help keep this organization going strong. Everybody wants to abandon the system, but nobody wants to stick around, roll up their sleeves and fix it, lest we forget the sacrifices made and the debts paid by those who came before us.
It’s time we stop waiting on someone to come along and save us; it’s time we take action and stand up for ourselves.