2002-08-10 / Community

NAACP Launches Youth

Empowerment and Voter
Registration Drive

Empowerment and Voter
Registration Drive


Pastor James D. Williams opens the event by reading a scripture.Pastor James D. Williams opens the event by reading a scripture. By Gary G. Toms

St. John Baptist Church, Beach 74 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, was the site for the Far Rockaway chapter of the NAACP’s (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Youth Empowerment and Voter Registration Drive.

The event was held on August 9, 7 p.m., and featured a host of elected officials and community leaders. Many young people from the community also turned out. The chapter took a moment to honor Pastor Donald Ventura, and the Lighthouse Inc. organization, for his efforts in training Rockaway youth in first aid and emergency response.

Although inclement weather prevented a full-scale turnout, at least 100 to 150 people showed up to support the NAACP chapter and the community’s youth.


Far Rockaway NAACP chapter President Ed Williams praised the youth for taking part in the voter registration.Far Rockaway NAACP chapter President Ed Williams praised the youth for taking part in the voter registration.The church was filled with young people from the Rockaway community.The church was filled with young people from the Rockaway community.

This poster was used as a tool to get youth involved in registering to vote. It featured an actual "bill of sale" for slaves, which was commonly used during slavery.This poster was used as a tool to get youth involved in registering to vote. It featured an actual "bill of sale" for slaves, which was commonly used during slavery.Karen Blanding, part of the NAACP Queens Coalition, addresses the youth.Karen Blanding, part of the NAACP Queens Coalition, addresses the youth.

Ken Cohen, also a coalition member, spoke of the need for youth to get involved.Ken Cohen, also a coalition member, spoke of the need for youth to get involved.Assemblywoman Michele Titus (far right) was on hand to show support for the youth. Omesha Kirkland (far left) and Folashade Rodriguez are the young ladies seated next to her.Assemblywoman Michele Titus (far right) was on hand to show support for the youth. Omesha Kirkland (far left) and Folashade Rodriguez are the young ladies seated next to her.

Valerie West and Assembly candidate Bryan Block came out to support the kids.Valerie West and Assembly candidate Bryan Block came out to support the kids.Youth from the Lighthouse Inc. project were recognized during the event.Youth from the Lighthouse Inc. project were recognized during the event.

David Hooks, Jr. (background) and Brian Simmons, one of the youngest Congressional staffers on record (age 20) talked to several youths at the meeting. Simmons works for Congressman Meeks.David Hooks, Jr. (background) and Brian Simmons, one of the youngest Congressional staffers on record (age 20) talked to several youths at the meeting. Simmons works for Congressman Meeks.Left to right: Pastor Donald Ventura, Deacon Stillwell, and Pastor David Cockfield display one of the tee shirts that were give to Lighthouse, Inc. inductees at the event.            Photos by Gary G. TomsLeft to right: Pastor Donald Ventura, Deacon Stillwell, and Pastor David Cockfield display one of the tee shirts that were give to Lighthouse, Inc. inductees at the event. Photos by Gary G. Toms

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