There are two units of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Butler County after the Hamilton-Fairfield-West Chester unit became inactive.
The two NAACP units are located in Middletown and Oxford and their service areas now extend beyond their boundaries to include the parts of unserved Butler and Warren counties.
The presidents of those units said the closing of one NAACP unit shouldn’t signal that the goals of the oldest and largest Civil Rights organization have been achieved.
“Our work is never done,” said Fran Jackson, president of the Oxford unit that was founded in 1943 and has 200 members. “There is still so much to do. We are still fighting.”
She said communities across the country are still facing challenges of voter suppression, social injustices, police brutality, economic insecurities, the surge of hate groups, systemic racism and assaults on our democracy.
Jackson said national NAACP and its branches across the nation are “committed to fighting” for equality and justice in facing the challenges.
The recent tragic death of Tyre Nichols, who Jackson said was “brutally killed” by Black policemen, is another call to action for police and law enforcement reform across the country. She said the video released was “very disturbing” and shows that reform is needed now.
“There is no justice for Blacks that are killed, especially Black men,” she said.
Celeste Didlick-Davis, president of the Middletown unit, agrees that there always will be a need for the NAACP that was founded in 1909. Nationally, electing one Black president and locally having the school district’s first Black school superintendent doesn’t mean racism is dead, she said.
“As human beings, we are uncomfortable with differences,” she said. “We don’t value differences the way we used to. We come up with new ways to separate people. People still are mistreated based on race. Some advancements are being made, but we are losing some ground, too.”
And when that happens, people sometimes file a complaint with the NAACP, she said.
“My office line is full,” Didlick-Davis said.
The local NAACP units also work with other organizations to improve the mental, physical and financial health of the communities, the presidents said. That includes supporting heart health initiatives and addressing the need for affordable housing.
“We are addressing issues and calling them to light,” Didlick-Davis said. “We have a lot of battles to fight. We have a lot of work to do in Middletown. Black history is American history.”
She said even the wealthiest of Blacks — those in business, athletics or entertainment — face discrimination.
People “see color before money,” she said. “Your race shuts doors that your money can’t open.”
Jackson called Oxford “a small community” that has lots of organizations and churches that work together to “promote justice that addresses” racial barriers.
“We have racism here and many issues to be fought,” she said.
BUTLER COUNTY NAACP UNITS
MIDDLETOWN NO. 3194
Officers: Celeste R. Didlick-Davis (president), Marc A. Dixon (1st vice president), Wanda Glover (3rd vice president), Jonda Prather (secretary), Tracy Mack (assistant secretary), Cheryl Maxwell (treasurer), Kirk Mudd (assistant treasurer), Regina Hawkins Cook (religious chair), Bridget Cotton (communications chair), the Rev. Jelani Johnson (criminal justice chair), Larry Mulligan III (political action chair), the Rev. Jeff Wilder (housing chair), Cecelia Snow Thompson (community liaison) and Kassandra Moore (veterans and Armed Forces chair).
Phone number: 513-849-2038
Address: 1224 Elm St., Middletown
Email address: email@example.com
OXFORD NO. 3259
Officers: Fran Jackson (president), the Rev. Vanessa Cummings (vice president), Ann Fuehrer (secretary), Sue Killy (assistant secretary), William Miller Jr. (treasurer), Ann Wengler (member at large), Randi Thomas (member at large), Barbara Cox (member at large), Sue Killy (member at large), Frank Warren (member at large), Landford Hargraves (member at large), Robert Smith (member at large), Linda Musmeci Kimball (member at large), LaTricia Hillman (member at large), Jason Bracken (member at large), Silby Miller (Women in NAACP chair) and Valerie Elliott (membership chair).
Phone number: 513-593-4785
Address: PO Box 70, Oxford, Ohio 45056
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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