Ready to branch out

Local NAACP chapter hosting statewide gathering


Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 12:10 a.m.
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Evelyn Foxx, vice president of the Alachua County branch of the NAACP, speaks with Gainesville Mayor Tom Bussing at the mass meeting.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
A couple hundred people sang and prayed at Mount Moriah Baptist Church Friday night to kick off the quarterly meeting of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP Branches.
Several choirs, including the University of Florida Mass Choir, the Victory Temple Gospel Chorus and the Mount Moriah Male Ensemble Plus One, roused people to their feet swaying and clapping to the spiritual music.
The gathering was in preparation for this morning's statewide National Association for the Advancement of Colored People meeting at 9 a.m. at the Paramount Resort and Conference Center, 2900 SW 13th St.
This is the first time in the 63-year history of the NAACP's Alachua County branch that it has hosted this meeting, said Evelyn Foxx, vice president of the local branch, before the event.
It means a lot to have the statewide meeting held in Gainesville because residents have the opportunity to tell the state about local issues, said Michael Bowie, president of Alachua County's NAACP branch.
"It's wonderful to have our voices heard," Bowie said afterward.
Some of the issues they plan to talk about today include the problems at Kennedy Homes, school rezoning and what Bowie said is the resegregation of local schools.
The local branch of the NAACP is working on empowering potential voters this year, Foxx said.
"We can make a difference at the ballot box," Foxx said. "This is the year to make it happen."
Foxx said while she respects President George W. Bush because he's the president, she believes the economy has declined under his leadership and that he lied about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
"Every morning I wake up to the news and hear how many young men were killed today," Foxx said.
This is an important year to get rid of voter apathy, she added.
UF seniors Adebolacq Akonicq and Henry Simmons came to Mount Moriah Friday night to help raise money for a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as to honor the end of Martin Luther King Jr. week.
King was a member of their fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Simmons said.
Fourth-graders T'unahcq Hopkins and Bianca Cromwell came to Friday night's kickoff just because they enjoy such celebrations.
"We love saying praises to the Lord," said Bianca, a student at Williams Elementary.
"We like the choirs and we love the music," said T'unah, a Metcalfe Elementary student.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@gvillesun.com.

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