The NAACP convened in Houston, Texas, last month for its 103rd National Convention.
I’ve always said if you really wanted to see and feel the impact of the largest civil rights organization in the world, you need to attend a national convention. This year’s special guest was our United States Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke about this upcoming election being the fight for the heart and soul of America, and he couldn’t be more correct.
The issues that make up the fabric of America and our fight for civil rights are health care, equality for all and economic sustainability, which will be debated up until the election. These issues may rest in the result of Nov. 6 presidential race.
The Vice President spoke directly to the importance of voting, stating “because we have the right to vote, we have the right to change things.” This is exactly the message I’ve been relaying to the citizens of Halifax County. My message to the NAACP body is there is nowhere in America where change is needed more than in Halifax County.
North Carolina NAACP President the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who chairs the Political Action Committee as a member of the National NAACP Board of Directors, was in attendance, and during the convention the Rev. Barber moderated a plenary of NAACP delegates on non-partisan civic engagement promoting the theme, “If ever there was a time to VOTE ... that time is NOW!” A large NAACP delegation from North Carolina was also in attendance.
In the state of North Carolina with 100 counties, Halifax County is one of only four with an even number of county commissioners. The other counties are Duplin, Perquimans and Robeson. This stat makes Halifax County not normal. Halifax County, along with the even number of county commissioners (six), also has three public school systems … again not normal. Until our commissioners merge the three school systems, Halifax County will continue to lead the state in lack of economic development, poverty, disparity in educational funding and poor health care. It appears they are waiting on direction from Evergreen Solution.
In June, the Halifax County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging former Scotland Neck Police Officer John Turner with manslaughter in the death of Roger Anthony. Mr. Anthony was tased while riding his bike on the streets in Scotland Neck. While we support our police officers and the work they do, this was clearly a case where Officer Turner crossed the line. A police officer has four deadly weapons with them every time they go on duty, a gun, a vehicle, a baton and now a stun gun/taser. When they cross the line, they need to be held accountable.
The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP will be hosting a Poverty Summit Aug. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch provided) in Rocky Mount at the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) 402 E. Virginia St. Registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and the program last from 9:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. This summit is a follow-up from the poverty tour that went across Eastern North Carolina in late January.
There will be a presentation/video from various counties visited during the tour, including Halifax County. Voter registration sessions and Community Activist workshops will be available for anyone attending.
The Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES) is asking all ministers and concerned citizens to join us as we host several meetings throughout the county in our effort to continue to educate the community on civil rights issues and the financial disparity we face here in Halifax County. Special thanks to Bishop J.J. Johnson and the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Family of Scotland Neck for hosting a recent pastor’s meeting.
The next NAACP meeting will be Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at H.D. Pope’s Funeral Home, 520 Smith Church Road in Roanoke Rapids. We can be reached at 252-535-2284.