NAACP chapter reactivated at UMES
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (May 9, 2013) – Nearly three dozen atypical UMES students gathered on a recent Friday afternoon as the spring semester wound down to attend an interest meeting for one of the nation’s most prestigious civil rights organizations.
| Nanika Shockley, Jenny Porch, Andre Walsh and Jessica Land
While most other students were catching up with friends or hanging out at the mall, the UMES students instead were focused on reviving a campus chapter of the NAACP.
Four students – Andre Walsh, Jessica Land, Nanika Shockley and Jenny Porch – all saw a void and agreed to gauge how much interest there might be among their peers to bringing the organization back to life on the Princess Anne campus.
“The most important thing is to know your future,” Porch said. “Our main goal for this organization will be is to clear the misconception of the NAACP; it’s not all about the ‘civil rights era’.”
The students say they are ready to accept the challenge of overcoming the perception of apathy on campus towards extracurricular activities such as NAACP.
“We need to educate our student body to be more socially involved,” Land said. “With the help of the SGA, our organization will push the community and our student body forward.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909 “ to ensure political, education, social and economic equalities for all and to eliminate radical hatred and racial discrimination.”
Students’ efforts to reactivate an NAACP campus chapter at UMES would make the university Maryland’s only four-year institution to be in compliance with the national organization’s rules and regulations, according to Bessie Bordenave, Maryland State NAACP Youth & College advisor.
Dr. Kirkland Hall has a long-standing relationship with the chapter at UMES. A history buff, Hall said he joined the chapter in 1978 after he became concerned about racial and social setbacks he saw in Somerset County.
Hall remembers the late William P. Hytche telling him that “when you work in the here [at UMES], you also live in the community. You need to be involved with community life. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”
Hall, who heads the Somerset County branch, has volunteered to be a chapter advisor with fellow faculty member, Kathryn Barrett-Gaines.
“People died so we can have the opportunity that we have now” Hall said.
Those looking to revive the chapter see its main purpose as developing leaders, encouraging community activism and raising awareness of political challenges that are still prevalent locally and nationally.
The UMES chapter plans to promote voter registration and increase student-involvement with the community.
Six students were elected by their peers to lead the effort to re-activate the campus chapter of the NAACP. They are Kianna Harris, Devin Hamilton, So-Jin Park, Clinton Thomas, Mariah Dennis, Nanika Shockley and Paul Jerry.
Ashley Collier, UMES public relations assistant, (410) 651-6669