BY Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
WOODSTOWN – Nelson Carney said he is determined to bring new blood to the Salem County chapter of the NAACP.
In a recent interview with Front Runner New Jersey, Carney said youth is the life blood of the organization and as the leaders of the current chapter age, he would like to see more young people get involved.
“I’m trying to grow the chapter and getting young folks involved can be hard at times,” Carney said. “We need them. I talked to a school recently and some of them didn’t know who Dr. Martin Luther King was. They didn’t understand what their founding fathers went through to get them the right they have today.”
Carney is a living his commitment to the NAACP and diversity by example. The full-time public works employee is in his third year as chapter president after recently being re-elected. He replaced longtime Salem NAACP leader Kennard Braxton.
Carney learned under Braxton as his vice president for six years before taking over the chapter.
“(Braxton’s) wife got sick and he couldn’t do the things he wanted to do,” Carney said. “I told him I would step up. I’m not young, I’m in my 50s, but I wanted to step up and hopefully bring some new people along.”
Carney was also appointed last year to the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District Board of Education. He said he plan to run to keep his seat on the school board in November.
Carney said he has worked with the district on doing more diversity programs and hiring more minority teachers. He counts superintendent Virginia Grossman as one of numerous people he has developed positive working relationships within growing diversity and inclusiveness.
He has also taken a stand when he needed to. He publicly commented on suspended Penns Grove Middle School teacher Bruce Bassetti when he was accused of using a racial slur with students earlier this year. That school district filed tenure charges against the teacher this month.
“Those types of words are unacceptable in this day and time,” Carney told NJ.com. “This should be yet another wake-up call that there is zero-tolerance for discrimination in school, workplace, or anywhere.”
The Salem chapter held its annual Freedom Fund banquet last month, with former county prosecutor Ralph Padilla as the keynote speaker. The event attracted 160 at the Rev. Edward Dorn Center in Pedricktown.
The chapter holds its general membership meetings the fourth month of each month at the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Salem. The call out to members, especially young members, are now out.