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Middletown Transcript
  • New M.O.T. NAACP branch looks to partner with community leaders

  • Members of the newly-chartered M.O.T. branch of the NAACP kicked off their first major initiative Tuesday, by introducing their organization and its goals to about a dozen government, education and law enforcement officials.
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  • Members of the newly-chartered M.O.T. branch of the NAACP kicked off their first major initiative Tuesday, by introducing their organization and its goals to about a dozen government, education and law enforcement officials.
    "We want to be able to have a healthy dialogue on the issues of diversity, social justice and race relations, as a whole," said Scott Saunders, a Middletown police officer who serves as the second vice president of the new NAACP branch. "But before we can work together effectively, we first have to be able to understand one another, so that's the process we're trying to begin today."
    Tuesday's meet-and-greet at the Hampton Inn in Middletown was the first event hosted by the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which received it charter from the national organization in March.
    Since then, the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend chapter has grown to include 127 adult members and 29 youth members, according to branch president Edna Cale.
    "You wouldn't believe how hard it's been just to get us to this point," said Cale, a former member of the Appoquinimink School Board. "But now that we've got it started, we want to keep it going by working with our community as a team, and this is just the beginning."
    Third Vice President Anthony Floyd said one of the main areas of focus for the new M.O.T. NAACP branch would be to help ensure that minority residents reap the benefits of future economic development in the area.
    "Advancing the dream means the development of young black and Latino men and women as a new class of entrepreneurs and encouraging them to participate in the re-energizing of our economy," the deputy police chief of Colwyn, Pa., said. "There is a direct nexus between high levels of unemployment and crime … so if we are together combining forces to increase economic development in our urban areas, it will create a precipitous decrease in crime across the board."
    New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon cheered the organization's efforts to improve job opportunities for minorities, particularly in a time of economic uncertainty.
    "The whole state and the county are facing the worst economic downturn in their history," he said. "So it's incumbent on you to find ways to fight for what scraps are left. And I want you to know you have a friend in New Castle County government."
    State Rep. Quinn Johnson (D-Middletown) said he and other state legislators depend on organizations like the NAACP to help them fight for equality.
    "We've been dealing in the legislature, still, in this day and age, with the word 'discrimination,'" said Johnson, a member of the NAACP. "Sadly, it is something we're still having a battle over, so I'm happy you guys are organizing and helping that movement for all people in the M.O.T. area."
    Page 2 of 2 - Meanwhile, Delaware State Police Capt. Jason Sapp, the commander of Troop 9 in Odessa, took the opportunity to ask for the M.O.T. branch's assistance in identifying teens with an interest in law enforcement who might be willing to join the Explorers program.
    "We now have 18 young men and women in this program that started about a month ago," he said. "But we have no minority representation whatsoever. So I would ask you to go back to your community and find those youth who might have an interest and send them my way."
    Other officials who attended Tuesday's meet-and-greet include New Castle County Council President Christopher Bullock, Appoquinimink School District Assistant Superintendent Sharon Pepukayi, Middletown Vice-Mayor Jim Reynolds and Middletown Police Chief Henry Tobin III.
    The M.O.T. NAACP meets in the New Castle County Southern Patrol Headquarters Building, 605 N. Broad St., at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
    For more information about joining the branch, contact Scott Saunders by calling (302) 593-2188 or emailing MOTNAACPChapter@gmail.com.

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