The Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People approved the charter of a new student-led UMass Dartmouth Chapter of the NAACP. The approval in February marks the first time a college chapter of the NAACP has been chartered at the UMass Dartmouth campus. The UMass Dartmouth chapter is one of just a few in New England.
The UMass Dartmouth NAACP Chapter will host the New Bedford Branch NAACP’s monthly meeting at UMass Dartmouth tonight (Thursday, April 20) at 7 p.m. at the Foster Administration Building on campus. The New Bedford NAACP Youth Council will also attend. This meeting, which will be preceded by a reception, will provide an opportunity for members of all three units to meet one another, discuss social justice issues, and plan future NAACP events.
The objectives of NAACP college chapters, as prescribed in the Bylaws of the NAACP Constitution are “…to keep the public aware of the adverse effects of discrimination;…to inform students of the problems affecting African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to advance the economic, education, social and political status of African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples;…and to develop effective leadership.
The UMass Dartmouth NAACP Chapter will collaborate with the New Bedford Branch NAACP and the New Bedford NAACP Youth Council in conducting civil rights advocacy work in the area.
The formation of the UMass Dartmouth Chapter had its roots in the visit of NAACP Chair Roslyn Brock to the region in May 2016 for the university’s commencement exercises. On the eve of her commencement speech, the New Bedford Branch of the NAACP hosted an open reception for her in the downtown New Bedford Public Library. Several UMass Dartmouth students attended and were inspired by her remarks and motivated to respond to her challenge to organize. Upon return to campus, those students resolved to form a NAACP college chapter at UMass Dartmouth.
After several months of organizing and securing the minimum number of membership recruits (25) with the assistance of UMass Dartmouth staff members LaSella Hall, Peggy Dias, and David Gomes, and with critical support from Sr. Vice Chancellor Gerry Kavanaugh, the students submitted a formal application for charter in January of 2017.
Upon approval of the charter, election of officers for the Chapter was ratified with Emike Momodu as President; Shamiah Cheeks, Vice President; Ayden Holliday, Secretary; and Myles Dias, Treasurer.
The Chapter has already undertaken several activities including hosting an informational mixer; organizing a voter registration drive; planning and participating in Black History Month events;presenting a gospel choir performance; and holding bi-weekly meetings to establish an agenda for its civil rights advocacy work.
Bruce Rose, President of the New Bedford Branch NAACP applauded the organizers of the effort to establish a UMass Dartmouth Chapter for their persistent work and dedication. He stated that he looked forward to “working with the Chapter in carrying out our mutual objectives of ensuring equality of rights of all persons and combatting racial discrimination.”