NAACP: We must lead drug efforts

Published 3:54 am Monday, December 19, 2005

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
McKenzie, who often identifies himself as the former vice president of the NAACP, is spearheading the efforts to bring back the local chapter. On Thursday, members of the black community gathered to listen to the Rev. Edward Vaughn, state president of the NAACP, speak, but it was McKenzie who was beefing up the efforts to get the project underway.
McKenzie said that his main objective is to bring in programs, in conjunction with the city, county and Drug Task Force, to help educate the people – or kids as he referred to them – on the street selling drugs.
He said that while he recognizes the fact that the drug problem not only lies in the black community but in other communities as well, he believes it's up to the African American community in Brewton to get the ball rolling and resolve the problems that stand in the street.
McKenzie was one of many in the African American community who voiced his opinions on the city of Brewton's hiring process regarding now Police Chief Monte McGougin back in October. However, McKenzie said that is all in the past.
McKenzie said that he has spoken with McGougin on several occasions and was very eager to get some programs started. He said he believes the only way to stop the drugs is to educate the kids.
McGougin said Friday that he was willing to do his best to work with McKenzie and others to help out the kids.
One way to stop the drug problem is to get young people away from the drug activity, McKenzie said. It allows them to focus on something else and should deter them from being brought into that type of lifestyle.
McKenzie said that there are several grants he's been looking at that supports education for minorities, and by asking the city and county officials, as well as officers to come under the umbrella, the drug problem in Brewton may be alleviated.
McKenzie said that he is asking all pastors, teachers and anyone else to get involved in the educating efforts. He said that the meeting on Thursday was to make people aware. McKenzie said that in the beginning of the year, cards will be sent out to different organizations within the community, inviting anyone interested to join in the efforts.

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