The Coahoma County branch of the NAACP, a chapter that has been around since 1953, installed its officers for a two-year term at Chapel Hill M.B. Church Sunday afternoon.
All officers served in their positions the previous term.
Jimmy Wiley is the president, Johnny Newson is the vice president, Brenda Luckett is the treasurer, Kimberly Hollins is the secretary, Lera Kinnard is the assistant secretary and Rena Butler is the chair of the executive committee.
When asked the organization’s goals for the upcoming term, Wiley said, “To continue to do what we’ve always done and that is protect the rights of individuals — political, social and education. To increase our membership. Membership is power.”
Wiley said he was not sure what percentage of individuals in Coahoma County were members of the organization, but it was lower than he would like it to be.
“Right now, we are struggling to get two percent of the county population,” he said. “We don’t have that right now.”
Wiley said two of the main projects for the new term will be focusing on the Aaron E. Henry scholarship fund to provide college scholarships for students and the Image Award ceremony, which recognizes people in the community who have made contributions in the fields of education, religion, sports, community service and medicine.
“The NAACP is still a viable and necessary organization,” Wiley said. “There are problems that yet exist that we need to continue to work on. Even though you don’t see us marching in the streets in Clarksdale, we are working at the state and federal level in the legislature, in the board rooms, in the court room, to make changes.”
Wiley said one positive change President Donald Trump made was passing the Criminal Justice Law, which made things more equitable for people of color. The law gives judges more discretion when sentencing drug offenders and will boost prisoner rehabilitation efforts.
Wiley said he is looking to make similar changes at the legislative level.
Wiley is not a Trump supporter, but he does believe in bipartisan efforts.
“He’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat,” Wiley said. “He did something good and working across the aisle is what we’re supposed to be doing anyway.”