Published author and Clairton native boice-Terrel Allen believes individuals have the power of far-reaching influence in their lives.

“You can have influence in your life regardless of who you are. People talk about there’s so much bad in the world, but that depends on what you focus on and think about. People should think about what’s good and figure out what they can do to make their communities and the world better,” said Allen, 41.

ORGANIZERS—Sally Belland-Austin, chairperson and Jacquelene Wellington-Moore, co-chairperson give closing remarks.

Allen’s positive attitude and literary accomplishments is why the Clairton unit of the NAACP decided to choose him as the keynote speaker for its annual human rights banquet, which was held July 17. The theme was “We Are The Change That We Seek.”

“We sometimes think that Clairton is looked at as a bad place but there are people that have left Clairton and done well and boice represents that. Despite the fact that he isn’t here in Clairton anymore, he’s done well despite the negative things happening and his success should be applauded,” explained Sally A. Belland-Austin, Clairton Branch NAACP 2nd vice president.

Allen, a 1988 graduate of Clairton High School who currently resides in New York City, is the author of “The Daughters of a Mother,” “Janet Hurst” and the double book, “Screwball Comedy/Stories Going Steady,” a novel-in-stories and short story collection under one cover and the editor of “Coloring Book: An Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers.”

“Coloring Book” has received critical acclaim from Gregory Maguire, author of “Wicked” and has been used as a teaching tool at the University of Texas. Late author E. Lynn Harris taught from Allen’s book, “Janet Hurst” at the University of Arkansas.

“E. Lynn Harris was always very humble and very supportive and helpful to self-published writers,” Allen said.

This year’s Community Service Award was awarded to the Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore, who pastors First AME Church in Clairton.

Moore, who has been a member of Clairton’s NAACP for about a year, was flattered by the honor.

“I’m honored because I am standing on the shoulders of others that exemplified change. That motivates me to be an agent for change,” Moore said.

The organization’s Service Award went to Richard L. Ford, the Clairton unit’s 1st vice president and lifelong member of the NAACP. Ford is also a deacon at Clairton’s Morning Star Baptist Church and a member of Clairton City Council.

“It’s a very humble thing to be honored,” Ford said. “At this point in my life it’s all about the Glory of God. What I do I do to glorify him and it’s an honor that people recognize my commitment.”

The NAACP was created by a motley group of people in 1909 to fight for equal rights of colored people including Native-Americans, Jews and African-Americans.

In that same vane, the Clairton branch of the NAACP, which currently has approximately 30 members and has been in existence for about 70 years, is working hard to make a change for the people in the city of Clairton.

The unit meets the third Thursday of the month—at 6 p.m. during the winter months and 7 p.m. in the summer months—at First AME Church in Clairton. To join the Clairton Unit of the NAACP or for more information, call Ford at 412-215-6830.

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