Local NAACP chapter focuses on Ypsi youth

Do you have a voice that needs to be heard and a passion for activism? If so, there’s a student organization that wants you to get involved so your voice and concerns can be heard loud and clear.

Not one to back down from social pressure, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is known to demand justice from the community and Eastern Michigan University’s student chapter is no different.

With a mission based on ensuring political, educational, social and economic equality and rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination, the NAACP is all about business.

Rather than make parties the primary focus is to influence membership. This student organization only wants members who are truly concerned about improving the EMU and surrounding community.

“Right now our focus issue is juvenile justice,” Mariah Manuel, president of the EMU’s NAACP chapter said.

Manuel, a senior studying public relations, said that the organization is focused on getting youth in the community involved in NAACP functions and activities on campus.

“Keeping kids out of [trouble] and keeping them off the street is one of our main focuses. We want them to experience college life,” Manuel said.

A way that the NAACP plans to engage the youth outside of EMU is to attend a middle school in Ypsilanti and prep the students to work on something other than times tables.

“Were going to go over there and take over an English class during their lunch hour and feed them with pizza and have them write letters to the president,” Manuel said.

“One of the things that we noticed being apart of a national chapter is that people get older and once you get older you have to step down and have someone take your place. Why not have those who are educated who you mentored make that transition,” Manuel said.

Denise Cranford, who is on the public relations chair for the organization, said that members of the NAACP urge students who agree with their mission should not be afraid to come forth because they may not be a shade of brown.

“The NAACP is not just for African Americans,” Cranford said. “Any race and any ethnicity can help out. If you feel like you can bring something to the table, then please do so.”

“We’re very open to questions, comments, concerns and any type of suggestions,” Cranford said.

One way that the NAACP hopes to get students and youth involved in the organization is to put on a battle of the classes basketball tournament Oct. 8 in the Rec IM. There will be five players per class and prizes will be given to winners.

“We will give away $100, a trophy and Alpha Phi Alpha will give away two tickets to the Alpha Apollo,” Cranford said.

Not only can students come in and have a good time, but they can also help out the homeless by providing a canned good that the NAACP will donate to SOS Community Service.

Another event that NAACP can ensure students will enjoy is coming out to the theatre with them to see Michael Moore’s new film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Manuel ensures that this is a film students should be interested in watching.

“One of our focus issues is economic development. With this movie being about capitalism and the economic crisis that the United States is going though, we feel like it’s our duty to make sure people are educated,” Manuel said.

After the movie, the NAACP will head back to campus to put on a forum that will discuss what the students learned from the movie and what issues that the film discussed and what more they would like to learn about capitalism.

One of the biggest events that the NAACP puts on every year is the NAACP Image Awards, an award show that recognizes community members, students and faculty on campus. This year Cranford is excited about their guest speaker.

“Basheer Jones is a phenomenal speaker,” Cranford said. “It’s important to have a speaker that is relatable to students.”

The Morehouse graduate is currently a host of a Cleveland talk show and according to Cranford, “always keeps it real when discussing issues.”

To get involved with NAACP or to learn more about the organization, you can attend a meeting in room 301 at the Student Center on Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m. or contact Manuel at mmanuel3@emich.edu.

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