Local leaders enlighten community by forming NAACP chapter in Mankato

Updated: Jun. 4, 2020 at 8:00 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — “This is what change looks like, this is what it looks like,” said Valerie Hines, acting vice-president of the Mankato National Association of Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) forming chapter.

The NAACP is the nation’s largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization and the goal is to found a chapter in Mankato.

“One of the beautiful things about this organization is that this is just another avenue and another change engine,” stated John Nehemiah Harper, incoming director of diversity, equity and inclusion at South Central College.

Leaders shared a need for change.

“We have to think about when this chapter or this organization was formalized and the state of our nation at that time, thus the name ‘for colored people.’ Since that time, it has been more emphasized on equalities and addressing inequalities. Those particular stripes are in every city of every corner of our great nation,” explained Maurice Staley, acting president of the Mankato NAACP forming chapter.

As the world continues to respond to racial injustices.

“There has been a global outcry, and that global outcry did not start recently. That global outcry started the day this country was founded. The laws, rules and regulations are systematic and we aim to change those systematic laws rules and regulations. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it’s the necessary thing to do, but to create a better path for our children, our children’s children, and our children’s children’s children after that,” Harper said.

The group is almost ready to become a nationally recognized chapter, with 70 members and counting.

“We’re going to put something together so that we can make sure we all come together, so we can hear the problems and concerns of the community, we want to make sure that each and every individual person who have reached out privately with concerns in the workplace and schools, things like that, we can to make sure that those are put on the forefront so that we can address those issues and then we can go out and speak to our local forms of government to say, hey we need to have a sit down, our local police department, hey we need to have a sit down so we can make sure that the voices of the people are heard because that’s the only way change is gonna come forth,” Harper said.

The group leaders are set to host a webinar on June 11 to move forward with its official plan of action.

Learn more at the Mankato NAACP website.

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