SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The conversation around racial equality and justice in NEPA took an important step Sunday night. A local group has that one day hopes to become a branch of the NAACP hit the ground running.

“We want to get inside and figure out how we can do this best and represent our community as a whole,” Lackawanna County NAACP organization committee member Heather Rhodes said.

Unifying for real progress, the organizational committee of the prospective Lackawanna County NAACP branch held its first community zoom meeting. Now with a list of goals and initiatives, it’s a numbers game.

“I think the importance really lies with the memberships and getting them collected so that we can become accredited so that we can start our plans and operations; get them moving and progress,” Rhodes said.

While the effort is in its infancy, there’s a lot of planning to make sure that as soon as they are accredited they can hit the ground running.

“We’ve been trying to do this for some time and finally we have the right people in place to help facilitate this, get it off the ground and get a firm foundation,” Lackawanna County NAACP organization committee member Christopher Boone said.

With the NAACP name comes history, resources and what the committee tells Eyewitness News are misconceptions. They say it’s an inclusive organization for the communities they plan to serve.

“If we expect to be treated non-discriminantly, we need to be non-discriminant toward anyone who needs the help,” Lackawanna County NAACP organization committee member Ricky Cephas said.

Programs on the table that will help with everything from educational resources to improving police relations.

“We’re getting our name out there. We’re getting our intentions out there and all I can hope for is that people hold onto that, run with it and know that we have their best interests in mind,” Lackawanna County NAACP organization committee member Savannah Drummond said.

The call for conversations and actions progressing.

“Certain demographics are calling for a voice. You need a unified voice instead of having this one, that one, this one and that one. You need to collectively speak in one voice,” Lackawanna County NAACP organization committee member Ty Holmes said.

“With dedication and the right people and everything? I think we can make this happen. No I don’t think we’re going to make this happen. I know we’re going to make this happen,” Boone said.

The prospective Lackawanna County branch needs 100 members and already has growing interest. There’s even some members who live in Lackawanna County, but have been Wilkes-Barre branch members.