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Local NAACP leader helps create unity while readying for D.C. rally

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Westborough – In the months leading up to the One Nation/ NAACP rally held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, Yvonne Brown worked to amass a local constituency who would travel from Massachusetts to help make a difference that day. The Westborough NAACP leader wanted to show youth that they could aff ect positive change, and she wanted them to benefit from the wisdom of senior members in the group who had previously stood up against unfair treatment.

According to Brown, the rally was initiated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and became a unifi ed effort when other organizations joined the cause. Such groups as One Nation Working Together, the National Education Association (NEA), the Pan-Hellenic Council of Greek Organizations (sororities and fraternities), labor unions and others came forward to participate, she said.

Brown said the rally’s purpose was to show and promote nationwide unity for common concerns – mainly jobs, education reform, economics, voter registration and power – regardless of race, nationality, creed, gender persuasion or disability.

“[It was also an] opportunity to let those directly impacted speak for themselves, rather than through a spokesperson untouched by or removed from the inequality,” she said. “To reinforce core values, use the ballot box rather than weapons or fist fights for reform. Promote ideas from Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’, Langston Hughes’s insights or Frederick Douglass’s ‘Need for a Struggle in Order to Make Progress.’”

The rainy night before the rally, Brown waited with a diverse group of about 50, which included seniors and children for a bus that was due to depart from Massachusetts at midnight for the event. Having carefully laid out plans for their journey, they awaited the bus with great anticipation. The clock ticked, but no bus was in sight. At about 12:30 a.m., Brown said, the president of NAACP’s New England Area Conference (NEAC) received a phone call that the bus that had been contracted for the trip was cancelled.

Although those gathered in the lot were in disbelief and shock, the group remains focused to do the work of the organization, Brown said. The initiative they showed in mobilizing for the event became an example to themselves of their capability of uniting to address the cause. As an NEAC executive committee member, Brown is determined to use that momentum to go forward and not to dwell on the bus mishap.

Brown has overcome obstacles many times before. A former schoolteacher, she persistently believed in students who were disregarded by administrators as being unable to learn, and she industriously helped those children succeed. When doctors told her that her own daughter, who has special needs, would be unable to walk or speak, she did not accept that as her child’s fate. She advocated for her daughter to receive appropriate services. Her daughter has since grown up to be a successful athlete with Special Olympics and a Quinsigamond Community College graduate.

Last year, Brown received a leadership award from UnityFirst. com during a global reception with Arun Gandhi, grandson of India’s late leader, Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, in a ceremony that recognized community members who help youth succeed. She’s sustained a drive to assist and said her impetus for getting involved in the D.C. rally was partly to support youth in voicing their concerns and to promote healing among the affected groups.

Brown said she was drawn to the rally by the “need to eradicate hopelessness of children who are receiving inferior educations, are saddled with health concerns due to inadequate health coverage, poor environmental conditions, infested homes [and who] are victims of frustrated parents unemployed or underemployed who turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort.” She wanted to address child obesity and the issues that contribute to it.

Brown was a child herself when she first got involved in community service as a Girl Scout. Promoting fairness became her mission. Whether she’s preparing food baskets or walking for the Kidney Foundation; whether she’s standing up against predatory lending and foreclosures or holding her grandbaby, Brown continues to work for justice for all.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=8174

Posted by on Oct 29 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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