CONNIE PARKER, center, with Rich Fitzgerald, left: and Bill Paduto, right.


NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Connie Parker is wasting no time putting as much fresh blood as she can in committee chairs.
“If we had the same people as before, we’d get the same kind of results,” she said. “We can’t just move the deck chairs around. We need to be more active and to increase our membership, especially among young people.”
Part of that initiative includes events like the open house and art auction the NAACP held last week. The other part is naming younger, and newer, members as committee chairs.
“Chase Patterson chaired that event, and it was the first time in a long time that room had been packed. And we also have 30 members in Duquesne University’s new student chapter,” Parker said. “I felt good knowing that the word got out about our outreach effort. We have great resources in this city.  And we need to tap into that.”
Heading the committees are: Billy Joe Jordan, Labor and Industry; Marilyn Barnett-Waters, Education; M. Gayle Moss, Freedom Fund; Diane Powell, WIN; Cheryl McAbee, Political Issues; Richard A. Stewart Jr., Membership; and Curtis Page, Veterans’ Affairs.
The Prison Affairs Committee is headed by co-chairs James Waters and Angelina Bryant, and the Legal Redress Committee are led by Charlene McAbee and Milton Raiford.
Parker said she is still working to fill the religious affairs chair.
“The NAACP was first galvanized by the churches,” she said. “So religious affairs is important to tie us back to the community.”
But Parker has more than just important NAACP seats to fill. In her capacity as a board member for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Parker has been tasked to chair the search committee for PAT’s next president.
The other committee members are attorney Jeff Letwin, engineer Tom Donatelli, training consultant John Tague Jr., retired Carpenters Union officer John Brooks, Oakland Transportation Management Association Executive Director Mavis Rainey and former Turnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier.
Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the timeline for hiring a new chief executive is up to the board.
“They will establish the job requirements and the kind of executive they are looking for,” he said. “Then it will be a head hunter process specific to the transit industry. They have engaged the firm Krauthamer & Associates to do the search, so it’s just a question of how long it takes to find a set number of qualified candidates.”
(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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