The Pensacola NAACP Branch held its first Executive Board Meeting of 2016 and sponsored a “Meet and Greet” reception with the community at the Woodland Heights Community Center on Thursday, January 14th. The Pensacola Branch President, Eladies Sampson, approached the Executive Board with the idea to begin the official outreach of the local branch for new expanded membership in the NAACP. There was food, games and fellowship for those that attended. According to the Sampson, February will be a membership recruitment month for old members to renew their involvement and for new members to join.
The NAACP Pensacola Branch leadership attended the MLK Celebration Breakfast on Saturday, January 16th at the Wright Place and organized their departure to attend a Northwest Florida ”Get Out The Vote” (GOTV) workshop in Crestview that was attended by the NAACP Florida State Conference President, Adora Nwese and former Florida Senator Tony Hill of Jacksonville. With the NAACP Branch Presidents from Pensacola, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties and the representatives from Northwest non-profits organizations and governments strategies were discussed on how the NAACP should approach various groups to ensure as many are registered as possible.
Adoraa Nweze and Tony Hill developed a GOTV strategy focused on involving the churches, the masonic organizations, the non-profits, the Greek-letter Fraternities and Sororities. Nweze described her movements across the state to Tallahassee, Panama City, Gadsden County, Wakulla County, and “Today we are here in Crestview to bring the message that the Panhandle is one of the most important areas in the State of Florida. A lot of decisions are made right here in the Panhandle. If we can turn out the votes in the Panhandle then we can make a difference”.
Senator Hill articulated how the African-American Mayor of Jacksonville lost his last election. Hill said that Mayor Brown lost the Jacksonville mayoral election by 5,000 votes while 90,000 African-American registered voters did not vote. Hill went on to say that, “There is a price to pay for freedom. We must be mission focused and we have to get off of the victim highway”.
Hill went on to describe the NAACP Florida State Conference strategy with a simple rhyme of the “3 T’s: Tune People In, Turn Them On, and Turn Them Out. A major focus of the workshop was how to mobilize the 18 – 35 year old demographic to get out and vote. Events with music and food and focus groups were discussed. Additional meeting will be taking place across the Panhandle to finalize the GOTV strategies for the youth, the seniors, and the overall minority vote.