Central Delaware NAACP interim head eyes increased membership

Tracy Palmer. Submitted photo

DOVER — The Central Delaware National Association for the Advancement of Colored People branch has 108 members.

Newly-announced interim president Tracy Palmer definitely wants to increase that number.

“We’d like to add more active participants,” she said Wednesday.

A proactive recruiting approach and impactful mission must first start from within, Ms. Palmer said.

“The biggest thing for me is building strong committees,” she said. “Then we can branch out into communities. Personally, I’m a face to face, hands on person who likes to go door to door and host community activities.”

Specific outreach plans are still being formulated in the wake of La Mar Gunn Sr.’s decision to leave the president’s post last week. Ms. Palmer said Mr. Gunn will still be available to address political issues when applicable.

A monthly branch membership meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Tuesday at 412 College Road in Dover. More information is available online at centraldenaacp.com.

“We started a new regime a few years ago focused on moving forward together as one family,” Ms. Palmer said.

“I am committed to furthering those efforts. If elected as president during the next election, I plan to publish our team’s strategic plan for Central Delaware. The good thing is that the Central Branch has a strong foundation we can work from and just continue to build. I am fortunate to still have La Mar and the rest of our team to help me should I need help or advice.”

Also, she said, “I’d like to see less injustices and prejudices in the workplaces here in the state of Delaware as well, especially towards African American women.”

Generally speaking, Ms. Palmer said she’s inheriting leadership of a strong organization that’s raised awareness of local issues the past several years. She ascended to a Second Vice President position after joining the branch roughly 2 1/2 years ago.

“La Mar has left a very strong foundation, one that I feel very comfortable moving forward with,” said the mother of four children and four grandchildren who has been a Dover area resident for 20 years after relocating from North Carolina.

“I am truly grateful and humbled to serve in the (interim president). I have huge shoes to fill and great expectations based on the many achievements by our previous administration …”

Excited for future

In a letter announcing his departure last week, Mr. Gunn noted that “I am excited about the future of our community and the continued success of the Central Branch. Please continue to support Tracy and her vision for an even brighter tomorrow.

“As for me, I will be enjoying extra time with my growing family and business.”

The new interim president pointed to a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — “I have decided to stick to love … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Looking ahead, Ms. Palmer said she “would love” to make a pitch for becoming full-time Central Delaware NAACP president.

“The Central Delaware NAACP is not new to me as I have been at the table for all major decisions and planning in recent years,” she said. “I have worked alongside Mr. Gunn through pivotal moments in the history of our Dover and surrounding areas.

“I look forward to building strong committees, and dedicating time in the communities. Receiving my directions from God, and working with a strong team; I look forward to making dreams become realities.”

Near term, Ms. Palmer wants to organize a local job fair and plans for the NAACP to take over 100 local children to visit Washington D.C. This year’s Freedom Fund banquet fundraiser and recognition ceremony will likely be held in September because “I didn’t want to just throw something together for this spring,” Ms. Palmer said.

“For much of my adult life, I have worked throughout Delaware feeding the homeless and those in need through food drives,” she said. “This included sign-ups for food boxes, mentoring women and girls of all ages, to walk in their destiny. I am super-excited to work in the community through the NAACP; My life’s purpose is to be of service to others. “I strive to greet people from a place of love, respect, and joy.”

Ms. Palmer is a Family Support Provider for the Champions for Children’s Mental Health Program designed to assist with services and direction while navigating through life with dependents experiencing behavioral and/or mental health challenges.

A member of Victory Church, Ms. Palmer operates her own ministry and participates in feeding the homeless and needy throughout the year.

“I enjoy people and I want to see people fulfill their destiny,” she said. “I like to push them to reach their capabilities and meet their potential.”

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