Home Faculty meeting New Albion College NAACP Chapter Elects Executive Committee – The Albion College Pleiad Online

New Albion College NAACP Chapter Elects Executive Committee – The Albion College Pleiad Online

0
Albion College students protesting after racist incidents on campus culminated in a series of racist graffiti in the Mitchell Towers. Student interest in an Albion College NAACP chapter grew after the protests following these incidents (photo by Patrick Smoker).

On January 18, members of the Albion College community were invited to a virtual organizational meeting with the primary purpose of electing the Albion College NAACP Chapter Executive Council. The chapter is a new student organization in the making for more than a decade, according to Robert Dunklin, president of the Albion municipal branch of the NAACP.

“National statutes require that [local branches] reach out to all colleges and universities and try to get chapters,” Dunklin said. “Sometimes I thought I had footing and some interest, but not enough interest. I think it kind of started last year when all the incidents happened on campus and I think more students saw the need for the NAACP to be part of the conversation.

In the spring of 2021, a series of racist incidents occurred on campus, culminating in racist messages written on an individual’s whiteboard in Wesley Hall and in a stairwell at Mitchell Towers. Afterwards, students, faculty, staff and community members staged a series of protests on campus. On April 9, the Albion branch of the NAACP and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights held a virtual community forum to discuss racist incidents.

Esmeralda Trevino, Dallas senior, was elected president of the Albion College chapter of the NAACP. Trevino was heavily involved in organizing the series of protests, which sparked interest in working with the NAACP.

“That’s why I wanted to join the NAACP chapter here, to continue some of the work started by the protests, to hold our college accountable, to hold our faculty accountable, to hold our students accountable, and to support the community around college,” Trevino said.

Nels Christensen and Jess Roberts, Associate Professors of English, are Academic Advisors for the Albion College Chapter. According to Christensen and Roberts, they did not feel ready to advise a chapter at Albion College because they did not feel they had enough experience working with the Albion branch.

Their future involvement with the Albion branch of the NAACP as board members, Roberts’ involvement in the Albion Big Read program, and Christensen’s work with the local school board prepared them for this role. .

“We’ve known for a long time that President Dunklin wanted to start a chapter for years, long before 2018,” Christensen said. “At that time, we did not feel it would be appropriate to assume a leadership position in the chapter without the blessing of the NAACP.”

Dunklin, Christensen, and Roberts have made it clear that students run the Albion College Chapter, while they serve the Chapter simply as Chapter supporters. Dunklin, however, hopes the chapter will get involved in suffrage issues, such as informing students of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act encouraging students to speak to their elected officials and encouraging more students to vote.

“This is one of the most critical things right now that the NAACP is working on right now,” Dunklin said. “We’ve been doing this work for all these years and we keep asking ourselves, ‘why are we fighting over and over again for the same issues?’ and then we ask, ‘if voting isn’t so important, why are people trying to stop blacks and browns from voting?”

Currently, the Albion College chapter is working to meet regularly throughout the semester. According to Trevino, the chapter plans to get involved in the basic review process pushing for a race-focused course, registering people to vote, working with other colleges for a greater voting rights campaign, and engaging with the Albion branch on race-focused programming. the community.

“We also definitely want to partner with other organizations, especially groups from the Umbrella organizations,” Trevino said. “We really want to get their ideas when planning events that aren’t just about black people or white people, but also Latinx people or students from different countries.”

Students interested in learning more about the Albion College Chapter of the NAACP can contact Anisa Moore, First Vice President of the Chapter and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, at [email protected] or Ian Lee, Assistant Treasurer and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, at [email protected].