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New Campus Organization Educates Youth about Civil Rights

New Campus Organization Educates Youth about Civil Rights

Posted: June 13, 2013

Students can learn about the history of civil rights and advance those rights through involvement with a new student organization at Buffalo State. With the help of adviser Tamara McMillen, associate director of student life, students formed a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on campus in March.

“I felt like the NAACP would be a good connection for the campus,” said Margot Harris, Buffalo State graduate and the chapter’s co-founder.

The NAACP, which was founded in 1909, is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. The organization’s mission is to guarantee the economic, educational, political, and social equality of all people and to eliminate discrimination based on race.

“We want the NAACP to be the bridge for Buffalo State to the community,” Harris said.

The Buffalo State chapter was formed after the NAACP launched a national initiative to involve more college chapters in the organization. Buffalo State now has 25 members, and its executive board works closely with the City of Buffalo’s chapter. Jessica Micha, the college chapter’s president, called the Buffalo chapter their “parent chapter.” With this collaboration, both chapters benefit from having more resources and more people involved locally to work toward the organization’s mission.

“We’re all very involved and we’re so committed,” Micha said. “My e-board is revved up and ready to go.”

The organization will connect with other college organizations in the coming year, all the while teaching its members about their history.

“You need to know about your history to know where you’re going,” Micha said.

The members are planning numerous events for the upcoming school year, including fundraisers.

The chapter will apply the funds they raise to provide a local high school student with the Mary Talbert Scholarship, valued at $500. Other events that the organization will be hosting include their “First annual Conference for Success” for high school students, a free tutoring program to improve local high school students’ writing skills, and the “Survival of the Fittest Charity Fashion Show,” a fundraiser for local charities.

All Buffalo State students are welcome to join the college chapter and ensure equality of rights and the elimination of racial prejudice in the United States, starting right here in Buffalo.

“I want to put our organization on the map,” Harris said. “We have a great campus and a diverse school. We can put that in to play and help people globally.”

Pictured: Karen Blanding, second vice president of the NAACP New York State Conference; Tevin Williams, senior; Kaicherise McRae, senior; Jeff R. Oyo, senior; Moctar Sissoko, senior; Margot Harris, recent graduate and chapter co-founder; Jessica Micha, senior and chapter president; Deshawn Bolden, junior; Bangali Doumbia, junior; Frank Messiah, first vice president of the NAACP New York State Conference and president of the Buffalo Branch NAACP.

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