W.Va. NAACP Discuss Issues Facing Minorities

W.Va. NAACP Discuss Issues Facing Minorities

On Friday members of the NAACP in West Virginia discussed some heated issues that face minorities in our area.

MARTINSBURG, WV- After the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict polarized the country, many groups continue to dissect the "Stand Your Ground" law. On Friday members of the NAACP in West Virginia discussed some of these heated issues that face minorities in our area. 

Child obesity and voting rights are some of the topics needing to be addressed in West Virginia. The West Virginia NAACP is holding its state convention in Martinsburg. One issue that was discussed is children not eating healthy.  

"Obesity is definitely a problem among our kids.  A lot of it is because their parents work, and they do a lot of fast food eating because it's quicker and parents are tired and don't feel like cooking," said Sylvia Ridgeway, President of West Virginia NAACP.

NAACP officials are also urging minorities to ask their political leaders to amend a part of the 1965 Voting Act in order to freely exercise the right to vote without discrimination and to ensure the vote is counted.  

"Those voters may not even have a place in their area for voting, then where do they vote, and absentee ballots all come into to play.  If you are not in the correct polling places you go in their to vote, it doesn't count," said Danette Ross of Berkeley County/NAACP

Other issues covered included education, where it was pointed out communities need to motivate children to succeed in the classroom, and inspire them to become educators. NAACP officials say they're coming up with resolutions.

"It's great to have all these local branches here, because we can exchange ideas and help each other out.  The main purpose is to come together, talk about common issues and solve them," said George Rutherford of Jefferson County/NAACP.

"The first step we need to do, make sure we have diversity on our boards, commissions, and bodies.  One of the things raised here is that making sure minority representation on the higher education policy commission," says John Unger, West Virginia State Senator.

Minority leaders are also advocating "Trayvon's Law," developed by the NAACP, which they say is designed to end racial profiling.  They say it would also prevent killings like Trayon Martin and closer to home an incident involving Wayne Jones who was shot by police in March in Martinsburg.  

"There was a person killed by 5 policemen. Was that stay in your ground? Why would 5 policemen kill one black man, especially when he was down, and their have been no repercussions from it" said Rutherford.

The West Virginia NAACP Convention continues into Saturday at the Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Martinsburg.  More than 50 people are attending the convention.

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