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Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Other Elected Officials Show Support for Compton NAACP Branch | PHOTOs

Paulette Simpson-Gipson and Judge Kelvin Filer (Photo Credit:  Marilyn Smith)
Paulette Simpson-Gipson and Judge Kelvin Filer (Photo Credit:  Marilyn Smith)

*On Saturday, January 28, at the Aeronautical Museum hanger inside the Compton/Woodley Airport in Compton CA, Harold Melvin’s “Wake Up Everybody” hung in the air, as more than 100 people filed in to see the swearing-in of the newest officers and Executive Committee members of the Compton (CA) NAACP. Paulette Simpson-Gipson, the first female President of the Compton NAACP, will once again be at the helm, leading the fight for social justice, for an 8th term.

Judge Kelvin Filer (Photo Credit:  Marilyn Smith)
Judge Kelvin Filer (Photo Credit:  Marilyn Smith)

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kelvin D. Filer was the master of ceremonies for the event, which was attended by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Compton Mayor Emma Sharif, former California State Senator Rod Wright, Compton Councilman Jonathan Bowers, and Compton Councilwoman Lillie Darden, who were on hand to present Paulette with acknowledgments and resolutions.

Pastor Kenneth Robertson of New Truth Faith opened the festivities with a powerful and timely prayer, which was followed by the officers and executive committee marching in with “Every Praise,” and then being individually introduced by Judge Filer.

Judge Filer donned his robe and issued the oath, first to Paulette individually, and then to the other officers collectively. Everyone then sang, “Lift Every Voice,” with people dropping out of the chorus as the song progressed since people did not know all the verses.

Next, was a vocalist Nysa Shenay, who sang much better than the rest of us. She sang two songs acapella. I was more than suitably impressed with her rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters and New Compton NAACP President (the First female) Paulette Simpson-Gipson
Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Compton NAACP President (the First female) Paulette Simpson-Gipson

Congresswoman Waters was the first elected official to speak. She joked with Judge Filer about knowing his father and then shared that she is proud of the Compton branch of the NAACP, and told people never to forget the NAACP is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, and their work could not be carried on without the local NAACP chapters. She mentioned Tyre Nichols and the officers who caused his death.

She shared being in tears after watching the video of the police beating him because his calling for his mother was the same as when George Floyd called for his mother. She said, “black men in particular being killed in this country by police officers has got to stop. It has got to end. We pay the police officers to protect and serve.” She went on to discuss the bogus traffic stops blacks are subjected to and how at the end of the Tyre Nichols video, the officers were getting their lies together and making up excuses, “even before there is an investigation.”

She also said, “I don’t care whether you’re black, white, green, or purple, you gotta stop beating our children.“ She then asked Paulette to ”join with a letter to the parents, friends and whomever of these young people and let them know that the Compton Branch of the NAACP stands with justice and equality.” She went to say, “I wanna tell you, those black officers who’ve been charged with second-degree murder, I hope they get a lot of time. They should have known better.”

Next up to speak was Compton Mayor Emma Sharif, who jokingly questioned why they didn’t call her before they called Maxine Waters. She also spoke about the Tyre Nichols case, saying, “It was never about race. I think it’s about the system and the way the system has always been done, and now we have our five black officers that have actually done something, that’s truly an embarrassment to all of us.” She also agreed with Congresswoman Waters’ comments. She finished by inviting the councilwomen in attendance to come up to join her in presenting Paulette Gipson with a certificate of recognition, which included acknowledging Paulette is entering her 8th term as president.

Former Senator Rod Wright, Compton Mayor Emma Sharif, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (Photo Credit: Marilyn Smith)
Former Senator Rod Wright, Compton Mayor Emma Sharif, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (Photo Credit: Marilyn Smith)

Councilwoman Darden spoke and acknowledged her appreciation of the Compton NAACP and their “continuing contributions to the community that has a positive effect on the city of Compton.” Councilman Bowers spoke of the big shoes the Compton NAACP has to fill.

He also commented on the Tyre Nichols case, referring to it as “this current issue that is plaguing our country,” and eloquently stated, “It’s not good to take a life, but it is appalling to have a black officer take another black man’s life.”

He said the incident has, “taken us back 10 steps.” He proffered we need organizations like the NAACP to help stop that behavior and if we are going to succeed, we need to “stop killing ourselves.”

Former California Senator Rod Wright (Photo Credit: Marilyn Smith)
Former California Senator Rod Wright (Photo Credit: Marilyn Smith)

Former California State Senator Rod Wright spoke and hit a home run, saying, “You know, when you look at Memphis, and you realize what happened to Brother Nichols, you understand why you need the NAACP. If you EVER needed the NAACP, you need it now.” He finished by reciting Oscar Brown Jr’s, “Bid Em In,” which is about a slave auction, and said, “That’s why you need the NAACP,” and he dropped the mic.

Paulette Gipson was the last person to speak and began by thanking Judge Filer, her officers, the elected officials, and everyone else in attendance, before getting down to brass tactics. To say the minister side of Minister Paulette was in full effect, would be an understatement. She is very articulate, eloquent, and passionate in her faith, her beliefs, and her causes. She acknowledged being elected the first female president in the 100th year of the organization, and all of the women who have gone through the NAACP during that time. She believes it is God’s plan and said, “Where God puts a period, can’t no man put a comma.” She also mentioned it is in her to serve, as she is also a minister and an Air Force Veteran. Paulette also mentioned the need for the NAACP, saying, “We are no longer going to sit by and allow our people to be victimized. We cannot go backward. We’ve come too far to turn around now.” She also urged people to join the NAACP, saying, “If you want the NAACP to be your big dog. If you want it to be a rottweiler. If you want it to be a pit bull, you have to feed your pit bull.” She went on to add, “If you expect the NAACP to be the big dog, to be a rottweiler, to be a pit bull, to be what you want them to be, and what you need them to be, you’re gonna have to ask yourself have you fed your dog? If you haven’t fed your dog, don’t expect it to do what you want it to do.” President/Minister/Veteran Paulette ended with, “If you don’t belong to the NAACP, the NAACP can be nothing without you. It’s as strong as its membership.” She challenged people to feed their dogs.

Judge Filer jokingly “ordered” everyone present to join the NAACP, or risk contempt charges.

Compton NAACP Line Dancers (Photo Credit:  Marilyn Smith)
Compton NAACP Line Dancers (Photo Credit:  Marilyn Smith)

The festivities ended with a closing prayer from Pastor Robertson and a performance by the Compton NAACP Line Dancers…yes you read correctly, they even have line dancers, and then lunch was served.

If you would like more information on the Compton NAACP or would like to become a member, call 310-763-2002 or visit them at www.ComptonNAACP.org.

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles-based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected]

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