Why I Joined—and Rejoined—the NAACP

I decided to become a member after the urging of Dean G. Stanley Hicks during my freshman year at Delaware's only HBCU, Delaware State. I was a biology major and had no real interest in social justice. Boy was I in for a "wow" moment.

I can recall Dean Hicks asking me if I planned to spend my entire life in a lab isolated from the real world just peering through a microscope. What about all the problems and injustices in the community he asked. This forced me to begin thinking beyond my own personal life and contemplating what I could do to serve others and advocate on behalf of the downtrodden. It was a deep, life changing moment, and I've been on the path to finding myself and my mission in this life every since. 

Being a member means so much to me. When I was in college, it meant exploring our history and finding out where I fit into the world. We were young and care free. The college chapter was active and we enjoyed attending regionals and holding dances or other fundraisers while educating our peers about civil rights.

Life after college was quite different. When I left school, I also left the Association, and a decade later with the urging of my girlfriend and her mother both of whom were active members, I came back to the NAACP Family. This time it was with a sense of duty to keep alive the legacy of my former advisor who had since passed away. I knew I wanted to work with and nurture young people, the next generation of freedom fighters. The Youth & College Division was where I got my start and I was and still am committed to assisting young people who wish to answer the clarion call and carry the torch of freedom and equality in this day and age.

My most memorable experience? Wow! Well, there are several: The conversation with Dean Hicks about my joining the NAACP was one. Another was attending a regional conference and hearing civil rights icons like Dr. Hazel Dukes, Julian Bond, and President Benjamin Hooks speak. They inspired something deep within me, and I knew I was in the right organization. It was like a family on a mission. And our goals and mission were the same as they were a century when the NAACP was founded. I felt connected not only to Hooks, Dukes and Bond, but to Ovington, Wells, DuBois, Evers, and all the nameless, faceless freedom fighters who came before me!