Published Friday, February 22, 2013
By MARIANNE THOMASSON
The Newnan-Coweta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), once inactive, has cranked back up with 56 members.
Local President Barry L. Tidwell told the monthly gathering Monday night at St. Smyrna Baptist Church, “I want to commend you. Membership is well, well, well up to 56 members.” Fifty members are required by the national organization for a group to be considered viable.
Plans for the coming year were discussed, starting with a Freedom Fund Banquet. “We will have one this year,” said Dr. Tidwell, adding, “We will operate in the spirit of excellence. My mama said if you start right, you’ll continue right.” He declared they would be following the membership handbook.
“We want to let people know our unit is alive and well. Member Marcus Rosser is working on a radiothon, an NAACP parade and Battle of the Bands.” Dr. Tidwell said he hoped to draw floats and bands from chapters across Georgia on Oct. 12. “We don’t have corporate sponsorship, so we have to have fundraisers,” he said.
Pastor Chris McGarity announced that a pastor’s forum will be held at St. Smyrna March 23. “We’ve been discussing ways to get all pastors, including caucasions, for one common goal. We want to come together for Coweta’s at-risk youth, mentoring programs at churches, steps for family reconstruction, review things for judges and law enforcement. We want to give this information to pastors so they can give it to their congregations. We want to help families that are falling apart and refocus them.”
Dr. Tidwell praised Evangelist Glenda Parks, membership coordinator, for her work for the organization. “She’s on Facebook, making phone calls and getting in people’s faces on the street. Every Wednesday my church (The Church. The Place You Meet God on Level Ground) has Operation Bread Basket. She takes the leftover bread to Eastgate, Westgate and every other gates in the name of my church and the NAACP.
“When we send you e-mail telling you about the next meeting, forward it to all of your friends in your address book. Then drive by and pick them up,” Dr. Tidwell urged.
There will be membership drives set up at Walmart and Big Lots. “We have a national relationship with Walmart,” Dr. Tidwell noted.
“Each member has been given three voter registration cards. The turnout at the last election was so low, they’re going to have to have a runoff election for the two who came in. Some people were turned away who didn’t live in the district and some of those who live in the district didn’t turn out.”
Dr. Tidwell continued, “There is someone every day who becomes eligible to vote. There are some in your church, Facebook friends who are not registered. Tell them if they’re not registered, you’ll show them how. We’re non-partisan. We don’t pick sides. We just want you to vote.”
Another challenge facing young people today is that there are “a lot of young men that can be arrested and fined because they are not registered with the selective service. It’s still punishable for up to $5,000 and a year in prison.”
Persons interested in joining the Newnan-Coweta Branch of the NAACP should go to NAACP.org and click on membership “and be sure to write Coweta County 5189” on the application, he concluded.