SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Mobilization, organization, and action. The Lackawanna County NAACP is not yet accredited but individuals playing different roles are uniting communities for change and equality.
“Once we collect 100 memberships, which will include everyone in the organizing committee, we will send the mast application to Kenneth Huston, who is the state conference president, along with the letter of recommendation from Ron Felton who is the Wilkes-Barre chapter president,” organizing committee member Heather Rhodes said.
We’ve seen the protests and rallies in the streets of northeastern Pennsylvania. Scranton is playing a big role in them and now a movement is making its way to the organization and action stages.
“We’re the ones who take the peoples’ issues and try to bring it and negotiate with city officials, hospitals, or whoever it may be that need to sit down at the table and have a conversation with,” organizing committee member Ricky Cephas said.
One of the largest organizations, nationwide, that advocates on behalf of civil liberties, each chapter has its own individual goals. In its infancy, the Lackawanna County chapter turns to the community to develop theirs.
“Before we have anything solid as far as directives go, we want to survey the community more. That’s why we’re trying to push this survey that we have on our Facebook page. We share it everywhere. There’s also a community Zoom that’s happening on August 2nd at 3 p.m. We’re going to have an ASL Spanish and English versions,” organizing committee member Savannah Drummond said.
Those on the organizing committee say it was important to be a county chapter as opposed to just Scranton. Bridging the gap in the region between the Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, and Monroe Count factions.
The demographic changes and I do believe that the information that we share between each other will allow us to identify what steps we take on certain issues. Basically, this is an information handoff back and forth,” Cephas said.
Whereas protests across the region have kept the spotlight on the issues, the formation of this chapter progresses the conversations of racial inequality, police reform and minority representation.
“It’s a way to say yes we can and we’re not afraid anymore to make change or to at least talk about it and to have that conversation openly,” Rhodes said.
Forming in a time of unrest, out to brighten the spotlight.
“We are here to make it known and to educate the community that there is a problem and it’s right here in your own backyard. Just because it hasn’t affected you directly doesn’t mean it’s not there,” Cephas said.
With the name of NAACP comes history and resources, but those on the ground floor say it’s not just an organization for the minority communities.
“I think a lot of people have this misunderstanding that the NAACP is only for black and brown persons. It’s for everyone and we’re here to make sure that no matter who you are or what skin color you are, we’re going to represent and uphold the laws that support civil rights here in America,” Rhodes said.
“We’re here for the people and we’re all in this together. I think that’s the most important message we can give,” Drummond said.