The NAACP SLO County branch held its first Executive Committee Retreat on September 16, 2017 at the SLO City School Offices. The all-day retreat was led by Jerry Moore, a branch member and professional facilitator.
The session focused on assumptions and objectives such as eradicating discrimination and harnessing the many skills of the committee members to accomplish our goals. Discussions included the importance of being a community-minded organization and developing programs and activities that have a lasting and positive impact on the citizens of SLO.
The group went through an exercise leading to a discussion about what makes for a strong leader. Cheryl Vines, branch Secretary, presented a history of the NAACP and of our local branch, pointing out that the NAACP, founded in 1909, is the oldest civil rights organization in the world. Initially impacting voting rights and fair housing, it now focuses on protecting the rights of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference. She reviewed the NAACP SLO County branch achievements since its formation six months ago, including recruiting more than 350 members toward the 500-member goal. Vines said that this was achieved by a branch presence at most recent community events. Additionally, the branch was represented on the Dave Congalton radio show twice, was interviewed on KCBX, and was the focus of feature articles in The (SLO) Tribune.
Steven Vines, branch President, gave an impassioned talk on his vision for the branch, pointing out that our goal should be to “change the world.” This is achieved, according to Vines, by paying attention to how we raise our young people and the values of human respect that we instill in them. He pointed out that oppression is too much of a problem in society and leads to low self-esteem and bad decisions. “We need to develop a strong educational system for our children, and systems of self-help and social support for those who need it.”
The attendees then discussed the branch’s mission and vision, and how membership is the “lifeblood” of the organization. Preston Allen, Executive Vice President, spoke about how we must address cultivation of people’s involvement in the branch. Dwight Gray, Treasurer, gave a report on the branch finances and his duties as Treasurer. Jerry Moore said, “We have serious work to do to counteract the effects of racism in our society. The group that I worked with at the retreat seemed more than capable of meeting the challenge. This is a sensitive, intelligent collection of mature adults who know what we need to do to assist citizens in facing the racist attitudes and institutions that undermine our unleashing the full force of the talent that is in our midst…Let’s not focus on race, color, height, eye color, etc. but on our common traits as human beings.”