NAACP Offers Community, Open Dialogue to Black and Brown Students

Posted on 3/2/2021 11:14:14 AM

By Elizabeth Laughlin

In October, IUP’s NAACP chapter held a voter-registration workshop and other activities that encouraged voting.

Known for supporting the advancement of Black and Brown students, the NAACP also offers a sense of community and a place for open discussion. The organization is this week’s focus in the Find Your People series.

More about NAACP at IUP

Meetings: Certain Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Folger Student Center

Join: For more information or to join, contact Stanley Rogers, president, kmsw@iup.edu, or Craig Bickley, advisor, cbickley@iup.edu. Follow the group on Instagram @iupnaacp or see NAACP on Crimson Connect.

IUP’s chapter of the NAACP, or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, gives Black and Brown students a safe haven on campus.

“We push for the advancement of colored people, whether that’s in the workplace, school, or everyday society,” President Stanley Rogers said.

An IUP senior majoring in communications media, Rogers has led the NAACP for two years. 

Even though he currently studies remotely and lives in Philadelphia, he dedicates much of his time to the organization, often traveling to IUP on weekends. When he cannot attend meetings in person, he joins through Zoom.

The executive board also consists of vice president Lassine Dembele, senior; secretary Kortnei Almon, junior; and treasurer Micah Davis, junior. 

“At the end of the day, it isn’t the executive board and everyone else,” Rogers said. “We are the NAACP. We are all one unit.”

To become a member of the NAACP, students can contact Rogers or Craig Bickley, IUP’s associate vice president for Human Resources, the group’s advisor.

The cost to join is $10 per academic year. Once students receive their membership card in the mail, they’ll be eligible for discounts at certain museums and other historical sites.

During the fall semester, the organization held most of its events in person, following safety guidelines. General meetings were in the basement of Wallwork Hall, which gave members space to socially distance. They also held events in the Folger Student Center.

This spring, the NAACP still prefers in-person meetings, which often take place Thursdays in Folger.

The group opens each semester with an introductory meeting, often split into two parts. The meeting covers what the NAACP is all about and what the group’s activities are.

Rogers emphasized how the organization provides community, along with open dialogue. It was that comfortable space that inspired him to become president.

“My biggest goal as president is to build a comfortable community where we can talk about things,” Rogers said. “And if someone feels they are in danger, they can contact the NAACP and know that we have their back.”

Every semester, the organization also hosts events that respond to racial injustices, Rogers said.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, in the Ohio Room, the NAACP will hold a Town Hall meeting with representatives from the IUP Police, Indiana Borough Police, and Pennsylvania State Police. They will discuss relationships between police and Black and Brown communities and will show clips from the movie American Skin and discuss the film’s impact.

“This is a way we can try to understand both sides in a controlled, relatable environment,” Rogers said.

In the past, the NAACP has collaborated with the Black Student League on events. Members hope to work with other organizations, such as UBORA Men, for future events.

Next week: The Haven Project