Formation of new Belmont County NAACP chapter is progressing
• Next meeting set for Sept. 5 in Bridgeport
MARTINS FERRY — The revitalization of the Belmont County NAACP chapter appears to be heading in the right direction.
Chapter member Jerry Moore said during a first meeting held at Martins Ferry’s City Park, many people showed to learn more about the group and how to join.
He said this week that he believes there will be enough people signed up to officially form the chapter soon.
“We want everyone possible to join,” Moore said. “We want all races to be a part of this in Belmont County.”
Moore said the goal of the chapter and NAACP in general is to eliminate racism and prejudice and “to remove barriers of any kind.”
“That’s what needs to be done. We need to seek justice for all,” he noted.
Moore said there was a county chapter many years ago, but he believes one reason it withered during the 1990s was after the original members got older no new, young people joined. Moore believes for this new chapter to be successful younger people need to get involved.
“My phone has not stopped. I’ve received emails and texts from people wanting to join. We’re doing good. It’s not just African Americans, but multicultural people wanting to join,” he noted. “I envision it being successful. A goal of mine is that one time the NAACP gave out a couple scholarships every year. The students would apply and write an essay. It was a unique thing.”
Moore said on a national level the NAACP is trying to get more people to register to vote, in addition to helping people get to the polls.
Moore said those who are interested in joining can do so online at www.naacp.org. It costs $30 per year. He noted a portion of that money goes to the national level, and some is used by the local chapter to buy paper, envelopes and even rent office space, if necessary.
The group also is planning another meeting this time in a different community: 6 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Bridgeport Rotary Club Shelter, which is near the Bridgeport Schools building. He noted during the first meeting in Martins Ferry there were a variety of people, including those who are white and multicultural.
Moore, a longtime Bridgeport Schools Board of Education member, added that he does not plan to run for a leadership position within the chapter, that he wants younger members to step into those roles.
“The reason we are moving around to different communities is that not everyone has transportation. We’re taking it to them and hope we get a response,” he said.
Moore said Martins Ferry Mayor John Davies was very supportive of the group holding its first meeting in Martins Ferry. The Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Brent Ripley has been, too.
Moore believes the key to the organization forming and lasting is for younger people to join and be active.
“This is 2020 and unfortunately racism and discrimination is still here and needs to be wiped out. Racism is not something that is born within it’s taught and it needs to be wiped out,” he said.
To officially become a new chapter, the group must have at least 50 members who pay the dues.