U.S. District Judge, The Honorable Vannessa Guilmoore and Dr. James W.E. Dixon II
On March 6th community members assembled in Granville Sawyer Auditorium at Texas Southern University to witness the Houston chapter of the NAACP install their new officers. These leaders held their heads high, with honor to be a part of such an impactful organization. For over 100 years the NAACP Houston Branch has fought alongside the National NAACP to defeat discrimination against African Americans across the country. From ensuring the inclusion of Black voters in 1940, to demanding much needed criminal justice reform today, the NAACP Houston Branch has been and continues to be a staple in the Black community.
The new officers were honored with a ceremony commemorating not just a simple shift in power, but a symbol of the continued effort of these leaders. With the intention of following in the intimidating yet inspiring footsteps of the activists which came before them, these officers take on the responsibility of confronting the racial discrimination present in Houston. We take the time to honor these newly installed officers because they will carry on the legacy of strength and determination set by the previous generation of the NAACP.
Community members of various walks of life gathered on Saturday to support the officers being installed. Trina Duhan, a new member of the NAACP and a self-identified “worker bee”, came out with her young son to show support. She explained how excited she was not only for the new officers, but for her contributions to the organization as well. She was excited to be assigned to a committee and become active within the organization. She explained that her eagerness comes from her late father who was a lifetime member of the NAACP. Another community member, Debi Allen, also considers herself a very committed member of the organization. She’s a long- time member, serving under several presidents, and working on countless committees. Her goal is to learn all she can with the NAACP and to involve as many young people as possible. She believes that “the NAACP will help bridge the gap” between Black people and their success. She expects the newly installed officers to “do even greater things than those before them. We will make a difference that people will notice.”
Dr. James W.E. Dixon II calls the other officers to the stage.
Historic community leaders also took the stage on Saturday to congratulate the officers. They each took time to voice their support of the new officers and put great emphasis on their unwavering support for the new president Dr. James W.E. Dixon II, A.K.A “The Bishop”. Local elected leaders including Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Alexander Green, and Commissioner Rodney Ellis enthusiastically took the stage to endorse the Bishop. Each official described him as reliable and extremely present in his community. Congressman Al Green highlighted the various achievements of the NAACP and explained what an honor it is to be in the presence of historical figures such as first generation Black commissioners, congressmen, judges, and mayors. He pointed out how it’s an even greater honor to take part in uplifting the next generation of leaders.
Religious leaders of the local and national communities sang Bishop Dixon’s praises. Bishop Noel Jones praised the purity of Bishop Dixon’s message and said that “He never has and never will succumb to infected political ways.” He refers to the Bishop as a “raging theocrat” who would never cower to the corruption of political power. Rev. William Alexander Lawson also took to the mic to express his unwavering support for Bishop Dixon. He proudly boasted of the 25 long years that they worked together. He refers to the Bishop as his other half saying “I’m the soft voice, and the Bishop is the loud voice.” He spoke highly of the passion that the Bishop brings to the organization and of the massive progress he’s made within the community. The Reverend spoke with an obvious excitement for the future of the Houston Branch under such incredible leadership.
The Bishop himself understands his assignment as president ”To stand on the shoulders of those who come before him.” He described his goals for the Houston Branch as “standing up for righteousness and justice.” He plans to stop Black people from being so disproportionately affected by COVID-19. He will work to ensure that highschool diplomas mean the same thing regardless of the neighborhood they are located in. When asked about his goals and expectations regarding the future of the NAACP Houston Branch the Bishop spoke words of inspiration, he says that he will work with the other officers installed today to “change what it means to be Black in Houston, Texas.”
Written by: Brooke Janey, Houston Sun