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Marcus Ray wants the Hardin County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to be involved in many aspects of the community.
“We will have a three-pronged approach to getting more involved in the community,’’ said Ray, who became the local NAACP president on Tuesday when he ran unopposed for the top spot. “We want to be in the classroom, boardroom and courtroom, and to create economic prosperity for our community.’’
Ray, 45, served as secretary for the chapter for about 10 years, he said. He takes over duties as president on Jan. 1 and will serve a two-year term.
He said students need to see role models in the community and understand that they can achieve academic success.
“It will motivate more children to be involved in the schools,’’ he said, adding that he already has broached the topic with a few local principals.
He said he is unaware of many African-Americans serving on various committees around Hardin County and would like to see that change. Ray serves on the Hardin County United steering committee.
“It’s something that yes, we have a seat at the table,’’ he said. “I’d like to see how we can sit at the table.”
Ray also said he would like to see more municipal contracts awarded to minority-owned companies.
Keeping young people out of the court system is the ultimate goal, but those who run into trouble with the law need to understand the long-term implications, for instance, of being a convicted felon, he said.
“Education is on the front side of this,’’ he said. “It’s best not to get involved in the court system.’’
Ray said he has watched the NAACP the last several years and he said he would like to see the branch return to “providing civil rights and advocacy for those in need.’’
“I just want to bring organizations together so we can accomplish things,’’ he said. “Who gets credit for the accomplishment is not as important as the accomplishment itself.’’
Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at (270) 505-1757.