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Much remains to be done as NAACP celebrates 114th anniversary


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded on Feb. 12, 1909, as a direct result of the outrage sparked by lynchings and other egregious acts of injustice. One hundred and fourteen years later, the NAACP has 2,200 units nationwide, and more than two million members. The players are different now, but the battle continues. The founders of the NAACP have long since passed on, but the torch has been handed down through generations. It wasn’t always legal for Black folks to read and write. Even now, books that simply tell the story of Black history are being banned throughout the country. Students are being shielded from reading about Black history at school, yet they are not protected from the threat of gun violence and mass killings at those same schools. We have work to do.

Nonetheless, there is hope. The descendants of slaves are now the educated leaders of the most powerful civil rights organization in this country, at the national, state and local levels. As the president of the local NAACP, I am keenly aware of my obligation to organize when it becomes necessary, to speak up when circumstances demand it, and to educate both inside the classroom and outside the classroom. The legacy I inherited from those who came before me dictates I must fulfill this obligation.

My lived experiences are such that I cannot ignore the systemic injustice happening at the national level or when it hits closer to home. The minority-serving university in my own backyard has historically been a revolving door for marginalized Black faculty, staff and students. Black students have been historically underrepresented, underfunded and underserved. That is part of our local Black history too.

So, I look to the legislative actions that have historically helped secure political, educational, social, and economic equality in the past. This has worked before. It will work again. So, I have no choice but to seek meaningful changes and improve the conditions for students in my own backyard. That is the least I can do.

Bobbie Green has been NAACP Doña Ana County Branch president since 2019. She has been interim director of New Mexico State University’s Black Programs since September 2022. Green holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California, an MBA from City University in Washington and a doctorate in software engineering from Seattle University, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Green’s parents met in a cotton field near Silver City and raised nine children on a farm off Miles Road north of Las Cruces. She became the first black child to attend MacArthur Elementary School.

Green’s mother, Rosie, was a cook for many years at the Aggie snack bar in Gerald Thomas Hall at NMSU. Bobbie Green’s father, Shepard Green Sr., was a farmer who “worked sun to sun, rain or shine, sick or well,” she said. He had no health care and no pension.

Green sang at the funerals of both her parents at Greater St. John Church of God in Christ on Mesquite Street, which her mother helped found in 1935. Green still attends services there, and also conducts the church choir. Green has conducted the NMSU Gospel Choir for 17 years.