BY DR. AMANDA WILKERSON, Assistant Professor University of Central Florida, GUEST WRITER TO THE TIMES
OSCEOLA – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is one of the most comprehensive civil rights organizations that for more than one hundred and thirteen years has led the charge for social, economic, educational, and health justice in the United States. The chartering of such an impactful mission is what fuels local branches to support and uphold the tenants of the NAACP to serve as an undisputed pathway for social mobility and economic security. The implications of the aforementioned was realized as the Osceola Branch of the NAACP bid a fond farewell to its outgoing president Mrs. Deloris McMillon.
When it comes to public school education, McMillon is a household name with an intriguing life narrative. She served as an instructor first in Orange County and then was one of the first Black teachers hired to teach in Osceola County. Throughout her tenure as an educator, she rose from the ranks of instructional facilitator to administrative leader before retiring from the Osceola County School District system. She then parlayed her knowledge and expertise into serving the betterment of the community in a variety of social and civic roles, chief among them being Branch President of the NAACP.
Nonetheless, at the start of the month of January, I, Dr. Amanda Wilkerson, and devoted members of the wider Osceola Community were installed as freshly minted NAACP branch officers. As our administrative term starts, numerous aims inspired by Rev. McKinnie, Pastor of Saint Luke Baptist Church of Osceola County, sparked a quiet enthusiasm to serve the community by focusing our leadership fire. Rev. McKinnie’s remarks centered on being the salt of the earth and allowing one’s light to shine. As a consequence, our branch strives to face the challenges of the twenty-first century by enhancing quality and innovation in social justice endeavors in order to lead the battle for fairness.
Our strategic plan is to collaborate and work alongside governmental, educational, health, and economic leaders in both the private and public sectors, with a focus on how the Osceola Branch of the NAACP and the broader community can leverage collective strengths to reimagine and redesign social justice partnerships that work for the betterment of all Osceola County families. We hope too that we can provide insights for similar communities throughout the Central Florida region. In short, the Osceola Branch of the NAACP is dedicated to piloting, documenting, assessing, and demonstrating that empowered community collaborations can help justice flourish.
Thus, we are actively seeking community members to join us in shining your light, so that we may together illuminate our world toward more equity, prosperity, and success. Our meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Cornelius Chambers Park Facility. In summary, there is no better way to build on the previous success of the NAACP’s founding and the strong leadership of one of Central Florida’s NAACP chapters than to support and join the NAACP. The function of the community requires us to be connected and engaged. We can take the first steps toward organizing for justice when we work together.