The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP was named the 2017 Branch of the Year at the North Carolina State Convention last month.
“It was very validating,” said branch president Anna Richards. “One of the things we focused on was better communication with our members and with our constituents, so to get the recognition is always nice.”
Richards, who accepted the award, said the branch has prioritized engagement with the community and staying relevant with current issues. Examples include co-sponsoring a candidate forum for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools school board election Oct. 16 along with the PTA Council and the League of Women Voters. They also hosted a panel discussion in the community on confederate symbols such as Silent Sam.
Richards said these collaborations have been successful and are what makes the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch stand out from others in the state.
“We’ve done a number of things this year to try and address issues,” Richards said. “(We try to) engage our community in dialogue about race in a way that is constructive and hopefully educationally enlightening to try to build consensus in our community.”
Richard Paddock, second vice president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch, said winning the award was a real testiment to Richards.
“There are people who are president and there are people who are leaders and she falls in the latter category,” Paddock said. “I’ve been really impressed with the way she has taken up the presidency. I always thought we were the best branch and this year we proved it.”
Paddock, who works on the health and wellness committee, said one of this year’s goals was to structure and establish goals for standing committees, which Richards has been working on.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch also received praise on Twitter from two candidates running for CHCCS school board.
Richards said it is important for people who want to get involved to stay up to date on the issues affecting their community and open yourself up to a broad spectrum of perspectives.
“It takes a team,” Richards said. “One of the things I feel most gratified about is we have a great team of people. It’s not any one person that makes a successful organization. We have a broad spectrum of folks who are engaged and committed to this work and without the team, we would not have had this honor of being recognized by our state organization.”
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