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July 10, 2014, 8:34 am

NAACP working hard on voter registration

When NAACP members from Cheltenham, Jenkintown and nearby Northwest Philadelphia gather for their July meeting, the focus will be on voter education in the neighborhoods. 

The group welcomes new members to join them as they embark on voter registration drives and education about the new Voter ID laws.  The next session will be held at the LaMottCommunity Center, Willow Avenue and Sycamore Street, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. 

This was the message of the Cheltenham Area NAACP branch when they held their
recent gala.  With the theme “Your Power, Your Decision, Vote” the gala took place at the Flourtown Country Club, 150 McCloskey Road in Flourtown on June 23. Radio One executive and Concerned Black Men member E. Steven Collins, of Laverock, served as the master of ceremonies.

One of the highlights of the program was when musician and composer Brian Michael Evans of West Oak Lane sang a new jingle penned by family therapist and local radio personality Lucille Ijoy of Mount Airy.  It focused on getting one’s photo identification and culminated with the words, “I got mine, I got mine, I got mine.”  The NAACP audience joined in singing the lyrical tune about voter education for this November’s elections.

“Dr. Ijoy came to me with this song about voter identification,” Evans said. “I put some music to it and here is it is.  There are people out here who don’t want us to vote.  We have our first African American commander in chief and that’s why there is this movement to erode our right to vote.”

Additionally, four community members were honored for their contributions to civil rights and community service.  The Humanitarian Award recipient was longtime State Rep. Lawrence Curry of Jenkintown.  While David Poindexter received the Educational Achievement Award, attorney Michael Coard was the Social Justice Award recipient.  Additionally, educator Bonnie Johns received the Community Service Award for her volunteer efforts with youth. 

There were also four $500 scholarships given to local high school students as a result of an essay competition earlier this year.  The winners were Jenkintown High School senior Aury Krebs, Springfield High School senior Calvin Speight, Plymouth Whitemarsh High school student Janelle Marie Grace, and Cheltenham High School graduate Francine Marquis. 

“Some say that the NAACP was founded in 1909 so it’s old and irrelevant,” said Harvey L. Crudup, branch president of the local chapter, in his welcome.  “We still need to fight discrimination.  This is the most respected, most effective civil rights organization in America.”

“One of the things I’ve learned is that you have got to be taught to hate,” Curry said.  “There is still more work to be done.  It doesn’t stop now.  Come together to overcome.” 

The local chapter is involved in a Voter ID Registration and Education Campaign.  They are supportive of the “Protect Our Vote” initiative and are partnering with the NAACP of Pennsylvania in defending voting rights. 

To volunteer for this campaign contact John Jordan at the NAACP of Pennsylvania at (215) 715-5681.