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NEW OFFICERS—Connie Parker, center, is flanked by newly elected NAACP officers. From left: Morton Stanfield Jr., treasurer; Johnnie Miott, third vice president; Parker, president; Richard Stewart Jr., first vice president; and Curtis Page, second vice president. (Photo by Jackie McDonald)

The NAACP Pittsburgh Unit recently re-elected Connie Parker as president and she said she plans to bring equality, unity and opportunities back into the Black communities in 2015.

“I have a chore before me, and that is to enhance the community,” Parker said. “It’s time we take a stand, and fight for our rights, get justice, and be treated as an equal.”

The NAACP is an organization founded in 1909, and currently stands as the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country. The NAACP was designed to be a public force that meets political issues head on. The NAACP exists to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights for all people and to eliminate race based discrimination.

Parker was re-installed as the NAACP Pittsburgh Unit’s president for 2015-2017 at Petra International Ministries. Dec. 17.

“I have been an active member of the NAACP for 30 years, but have always been in the background,” she said. “I never had any intention of becoming president of the organization until the opportunity was presented to me, and I couldn’t turn it down. I am one who is passionate about the community, and the betterment of our people. I am looking forward to this coming new year.”

During Parker’s former year of presidency, she focused on the equality in employment and encouraging African-Americans to cast their votes in political elections. She would challenge certain businesses and corporations who didn’t live up to certain business criteria in the hiring process, such as The Rivers Casino. She approached businesses head on, who were not providing equal rights of employment, or hiring African-Americans. She also felt that she had a responsibility to educate and encourage Blacks to cast their vote during elections.

Parker said she is proud of the impact she made during her past year of presidency by accomplishing more opportunities for equal employment. She also plans to get more people involved with the NAACP by greatly improving their role within the city.

“We as the people cannot expect to sit back, and ignore the issues and tragedies taking place before us,” she said. “Our voices must be heard, so let it be heard through your vote. How long are we going to complain, but choose to not do anything about it?”

Parker stated that as she prepares for her presidency during the year of 2015, she plans to keep equality and the importance of voting on her agenda. She still feels that this is an issue that must be addressed.

She also plans to place the NAACP on a larger spectrum and connect with the people of Pittsburgh in an intimate way. She believes honesty is the best policy, and plans to be among the people, and talking with them face to face as much as possible.

“I’m not one for large meetings, or being placed on a stand with a microphone to speak in front of a massive audience,” she said. “I enjoy good old fashioned conversation, where I can get to know others, and they can get to know me. I feel that this approach leaves a more powerful impact. I want to connect with our young people and let them know that we do care about them.”

Parker said that this is a crucial time for people to get involved. The time to take action is now, because we are losing our young people, especially our males. Males are being trapped within the street gangs, drugs, jail and now dying at the arms of police officers, she said.

“Can’t you see that our community is bleeding?” she continued. “Our people are crying out for help. We can no longer turn the other cheek. We can’t continue to sit back, look out the window, and not do anything. President Obama can’t do it all by himself. We have to play our role as well. Get up and vote! If you don’t do anything else, make sure you cast your vote.”

Parker is saddened by the events that took place with victims such as Eric Garner and Mike Brown, which is why justice and equality are two main adjectives of her platform in 2015.

“It’s always great to see Blacks unite and come together to stand for a good cause,” Parker said.

“However, the recent protests that have taken place have not been peaceful. Don’t allow your emotions, to become an excuse to self-destruct. The protest became violent, and Black owned businesses were burned down to a cinder causing Blacks to be out of jobs. This is no way to fight for justice and equality; we are only hurting each other and ourselves by these acts.

“Everything stems back to the importance of voting. There are not enough African-American people holding political positions. We have to respond through legislation. We live in a country where we are practically treated like animals, and allow it. Where does it end? When will we wake up?”

The United States of America is a country built on the rights of freedom, she said. But how is that so living in a world where we are losing our rights more and more each day?

“The NAACP is not where it should be, but in 2015-2017 we plan on changing that, “ Parker reflected. “I have a job to do, and plan on excelling in this mission. People portray Blacks as if we don’t like one another, and that’s not the case. We need to start supporting one another, and coming together. Let’s get up, and turn this shame around.”





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