The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP elected a new president who hopes to bridge the gap between the branch and students at UNC.
Dawna Jones, current secretary of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, was elected as the next president of the branch after the group held its election Nov. 7.
“For the first time, we’re going to be bringing on some student interns to help us do this work,” Jones said. “We hope to inform how students see themselves as part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community and not just the UNC community.”
Elected officers will serve two-year terms starting in 2021. Anna Richards, the current branch president and winner of the N.C. NAACP Branch President of the Year award in 2019, will serve as one of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP's vice presidents next year.
Jones has been a member of the branch since 2016. Prior to her position as branch secretary, she served as membership chairperson. In 2018, she graduated from the NAACP Next Generation Program, a leadership development program that focuses on training the next generation of leaders in the NAACP.
Jones is originally from East Orange, New Jersey, and holds degrees in sociology, higher education and social work. She moved to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area in 2013 to work as a case manager at UNC before eventually moving into the role of assistant dean of students. She said both roles have allowed her to utilize her skillsets and help students in need of support.
Jones also serves as chairperson of the Carolina Black Caucus, a group of faculty and staff at UNC who advocate for, engage and empower Black faculty and staff. She’ll transition off the CBC leadership team early next year, but said she hopes she can continue to work with the group through the NAACP.
“I’m hoping we can partner to advocate for issues that are really important for Black faculty and staff right now, who are feeling the brunt of the pandemic as well as the racial justice pandemic,” she said. “I really want to do more partnerships so the community can support what faculty and staff are experiencing.”
Richards said she’s looking forward to welcoming Jones as the next president.
“Dawna is a proven leader,” Richards said. “She’s been really instrumental in a lot of the changes we have made over the past few years, so she’s well prepared and she’s going to make a great president.”
Margaret Krome-Lukens, who serves as assistant secretary for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, said she’s excited Jones will be moving into the role of president.
“It has been such a pleasure to work with Dawna,” Krome-Lukens said. “She’s a great teammate and has done a huge amount of work behind the scenes for the branch. She’s a leader working for justice, so I think it’s great that she is going to be leading our branch.”
When she transitions into the role of president, Jones said she hopes to build off the work of Richards, who has grown the branch into a staple of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community.
Richards said she hopes the branch continues to work on issues like the school achievement gap and housing, while becoming more actively involved in environmental issues and economic issues like income disparity and wealth creation.
Jones said she’s looking forward to continuing progress on these issues, while strengthening the branch’s environmental justice advocacy and work around police reform.
“I’m just really excited about coming into this position, building upon the work we’ve done while making some strides towards growth,” she said.
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