Tammy Reese: What inspired you to enter public office?
Bishop Colette Matthews-Carter: As a child, my parents instilled within me the ideology of the “Beloved Community.” Growing up I was taught to serve by volunteering at a number of levels within the community. My father was a civil rights activist and community leader – his example continues to speak to me.
Tammy Reese: What are your goals for 2021 with the organization?
Bishop Colette Matthews-Carter: The NAACP has the mission of securing political, social, economic, and educational equity for people of color. Our platform this year will echo this mission as we seek to fulfill it within Syracuse and Onondaga County. Additionally, we will focus on the NAACP Game Changers which also include young adult involvement, public safety, and criminal justice, as well as healthcare equity.
Tammy: What impact has the NAACP made on the Syracuse Community?
Bishop Carter: The NAACP is the oldest civil rights organization within the country. This year we are 111 years old. Within Syracuse, the NAACP has been active for the last 50+ years advocating for civil rights in all aspects of life. Locally, the NAACP has always had special advocacy as it relates to economic empowerment and sustainability for people of color.
Tammy: What resources does the organization provide?
Bishop Carter: The NAACP is an advocacy organization and provides a wealth of resources for community organization and education. Our local branch is a part of a national and global network of over 2 million civil rights activists we can draw upon at will. We are developing an active board that will lend their expertise in areas that help us fulfill our mission.
Tammy: As you begin your term, what can the Syracuse Community do to assist in the NAACP initiatives?
Bishop Carter: We are asking the community to engage with the NAACP by giving us feedback; volunteering on one of our committees; engaging with us on social media; providing resources to help our constituency, and by keeping us informed as to community concerns and issues.
Tammy: What are you looking forward to as President?
Bishop Carter: I am looking forward to community engagement. Interacting, listening, and helping the community is my passion. I hope to create an organizational environment that produces the next generation of leaders and community organizers. I am also looking forward to building up the NAACP’s capacity to even greater work within the community. I love this organization and I love humanity.
Tammy: What would you like the Syracuse NY community to know about the new direction of the NAACP?
Bishop Carter: I would like the Syracuse community to know that the NAACP is here, we care, we see you, we are listening and we want to engage our community. We are looking forward to building upon past successes while recognizing the new challenges that we face. There are a number of local concerns that we will be addressing during my tenure. Our direction is always upward. This organization has weathered the storm of civil rights for over a century and we will stand the test of time. We embrace the challenge for the next generation – they are counting on us!