They have no memories of the civil-rights milestones of the mid-1960s, but that hasn’t prevented students at Cal State Monterey Bay from starting a campus chapter of the NAACP.
At the chapter’s inaugural meeting on Sept. 7, students heard community members – all veterans of the civil rights movement – talk about the movement’s history and urge them to continue the work.
Approximately 35 students, staff, faculty and community members attended the meeting, where some of the chapter’s 28 charter members were presented with their membership cards.
Shiyla Goodie, a psychology major from Los Angeles and the interim president, explained that as of July 26, the campus group was officially chartered as a chapter. Elections will be held next month when Goodie is expected to retain the position.
She gave an overview of the organization’s objectives and history, which dates to 1909. She also talked about how the Monterey County branch sponsored her to attend the organization’s national conference in Houston during the summer. “It was a life-changing experience,” she said.
Monterey County branch president Mel Mason was one of the community members in attendance.
“More than 100 years after it was founded, the NAACP is still needed,” said Mason. “We still exist today because there is still injustice.”
He talked about the significance of voting, and stressed that it’s the most fundamental right. “Without the right to vote, there aren’t any other rights,” he said.
And he reminded the gathering of the inclusive nature of the organization. “Everyone has a place in the NAACP,” he said. “All people have color.”
Also in attendance was Ann Jealous, mother of the NAACP’s national president, Ben Jealous. “Ben is passionate about attracting young people to the organization,” she said. She recalled how she had helped to integrate a previously all-white high school in 1955, and told the students how “happy and encouraged” she was to see them involved in the organization.
Steven Goings, CSUMB’s service opportunities coordinator and an officer of the Monterey County branch, told the students that they will have opportunities to make an impact on the community.
“The NAACP isn’t just another school club,” Goings said. You’ll sit on committees, you’ll work on real issues.”
The first “real issue” is voter registration. Oct. 1-6 has been designated “Otter Vote Week” and the chapter will present voter education workshops and a registration drive to help meet its goal of registering 500 students in time for the November election.
After the meeting, Goings said he was “ecstatic. I’m grinning from ear to ear,” said the chapter’s interim adviser. In October, faculty member Deb Busman will take over as permanent adviser.
The effort to organize a campus chapter was an outgrowth of the 80th anniversary of the NAACP in Monterey County, celebrated last February. Ben Jealous was the keynote speaker. Several students had the opportunity to meet with him at that time.
To help the effort along, the county branch agreed to hold its February meeting on campus as part of CSUMB’s celebration of Black History Month. That served to introduce students to the organization and led to the formation of the chapter.
Photo by Kevin Garcia
Left to right: Janelle Pichon, Shiyla Goodie, Charity Hawkins, adviser Steven Goings, Bridgette Johnson, Larenz Tolson, Sheena Nickerson, Asia Goodall, Kymberly Shavers