Local NAACP branch to host meeting ahead of banquet fundraiser

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington NAACP will host its monthly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m., at Greater New Point Baptist Church, 60 Paine Ave., Irvington, the night before its annual Freedom Fund Banquet fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., at B.F. Johnson Banquet Center in Metropolitan Baptist Church, 149 Springfield Ave., Newark.

“Pretty much we’ll just be discussing the event for our dinner, what our results are and what else we need to do. We’re pretty well set right now,” said Irvington NAACP President Merrick Harris on Sunday, Sept. 30.

“Tickets are $75, which covers the dinner and membership of the Irvington branch of the NAACP,” said Harris on Sunday, Sept. 23, “We are honoring Freeholder Lebby C Jones, Detective Sgt. Sheyla Marquez-Zepeda, the Rev. Jerry Smith, Shabazz High School football coach Darnell Grant, Hillside High School coach Barris Grant and track and field star Jamir Brown.”

“We’re honoring Lebby Jones,” said Harris on Sunday, Sept. 30. “She’s been in the town for quite some time. She’s been on the Board of Education, she’s been a Municipal Council member, she’s presently a freeholder and, from what I understand, she’s kind of retiring from that, so it was suggested that we honor her at one of our meetings, so we elected to do so.”

Jones said she feels proud and humbled to be honored by the Irvington NAACP.

“I come out of the civil rights movement,” said Jones on Monday, Sept. 24. “I don’t need the recognition because I feel good about myself, but it is nice to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that I have put in, serving my town and my community over the years. God has been very good to me. I have had a good life.”

Harris said the fundraiser will mark the start of a busy winter schedule for the Irvington branch of the national civil rights organization.

“I know that we’re having our convention coming up. It’s Oct. 12, 13 and 14 and it’s down there in the Princeton area,” said Harris on Sunday, Sept. 30. “I’m quite sure we’ll be discussing a lot of topics, such as marijuana and the vote for legalizing marijuana in New Jersey, and there will probably be other topics and workshops.”

A community forum on the “Pros and Cons on the Legalization of Marijuana and What it Means for the Irvington Community,” presented by Rice was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Solid Rock Baptist Church, 644 Chancellor Ave., Irvington.

“We’re also having our election coming up in November for officers. I am not running for re-election as branch president,” said Harris. “You must be a member of our branch as of April this year, in order to be qualified or to be nominated for a position as an officer and also to vote. So those are the things that are coming up.”