BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In our Beyond the Protests series we are focusing on initiatives to bring about changes throughout local communities in the wake of nationwide activism.
The country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization is looking to continue its mission in Bossier Parish.
“We need to be able to deal with the issues that face the community of Bossier that are totally separate from the issues that face the City of Shreveport.”
Lee Jeter is leading efforts to reactivate Bossier Parish’s NAACP chapter.
“As a separate community from Shreveport our needs are different. Obviously our demographics are much different, so we need a voice to address certain issues in Bossier City that we might not have the population or the voting strength.”
Getting people out to vote is at the top of that list.
“Parish wide we’ve got a lot of voters that are on the rolls that are inactive and we’re in the process right now of getting that list from the Secretary of State, so we can reach out to inactive voters to get those voters to vote.”
Criminal justice reform is another priority.
“We have a young lady right now that will be a member of our chapter that has their master’s degree. She made a mistake when she was 20 years old and she can’t get a decent job.”
Jeter says the group will also address economic opportunities and the safety of residents.
“We have an interest in environmental issues and when we talk about environmental justice if we look back at what happened in Flint, Michigan that was an environmental issue that affected a certain population of individuals.”
He wants the opportunity to train the next generation of change makers.
“We have to have civic academy. We got to teach them how to engage civically in the process when they disagree with something.”
Along with developing plans for working with lawmakers.
“We look back at the Civil Rights Movement there was progress, but it was people constantly working to enhance legislation to make a change. Things don’t happen overnight and we need individuals that are dedicated, that are willing to be in it for the long haul to make a difference.”
He says 50 people have already signed up to join the Bossier branch of the NAACP. The first informational forum is Tuesday July, 7th. The meeting starts at 5:30pm at Good Hope Baptist Church on Barksdale Boulevard in Bossier City.
“What I’ve been sharing with a lot of the young people, they’ve been doing a lot of the protests and marching and that’s great. That’s symbolic, but what happens after the protests? Do you join an organization that you’re going to work with? Do you go to the polls and vote? Or are you just going to be a reactionary group that react to situations that are happening around the country?”