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Formation of NAACP Youth Council in Orange County gains local support at weekend rally

UNC Sophomore Madrid Danner-Smith spoke at the first meeting of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Youth Council on Oct. 25, 2015
UNC Sophomore Madrid Danner-Smith spoke at the first meeting of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Youth Council on Oct. 25, 2015

On Sunday at the Chapel Hill Hargraves Community Center, members of the community gathered in the hopes of raising interest and awareness in its youth about the impact they can have on current social, political and educational issues.

The NAACP Youth and College Division was created in 1934 and has over 700 established chapters across the nation with more than 25,000 members.

The goal of the organization is to present an opportunity for the younger members of the community to have a voice in issues of social justice and to disseminate the mission of the NAACP at a local level.

The Rev. Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, attended the event to show his support for the youth council.

“The youth council is an opportunity to indoctrinate young people into leadership roles,” Campbell said.

“Our long term goal is to teach our young ambassadors the structure of the organization of the NAACP. We hope to instruct them on how to govern themselves, and help them to foster and grow their ideas.”

The rally included music, food and a raffle, along with guest speakers who spoke to youth and parents in attendance, and several performances by spoken word poets.

Among the speakers was Moral Monday leader the Rev. William J. Barber’s son William A. Barber III, a UNC law student and the North Carolina NAACP Youth and College Division officer.

Acayja Degraffenried, a first year at Chapel Hill High School, came to the event with her Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program mentor Teresa Valentine, who is a member of the NAACP of Durham branch.

“I wanted to get Acayja more involved in knowing about the NAACP and its efforts in the local community,” Valentine said.

Elizabeth Carter, former Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education member and current NAACP member, was one of the main organizers of the rally and of the Youth Council.

“I’m excited about the interest we’re generating in the kids,” Carter said. “I want people at UNC to know that they’re welcome to join and participate in the Youth Council.”

Anna Richards is the chairperson of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Youth Council, and was the other primary organizer of the rally.

“We’re working with groups across Orange County to advise the youth that this is an opportunity for them to be engaged and for them to have a voice about the history that affects them,” Richards said.

“The council will be youth led and youth run.”


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